Canada has an obligation to help Haitians fleeing Trump

In News by MIIC

A family from Haiti approach a tent in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, stationed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as they haul their luggage down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., in August.Officials on both sides of the border first began to notice last fall, around the time of the U.S. presidential election, that more people were crossing at Roxham Road. (Charles Krupa / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Imagine your current country, possibly the only one you’ve ever known, forcibly kicking you out; your home country is unstable and perilous; and upon arrival at your prospect country, you’re arrested, detained, and turned away. To be Haitian is to be trapped in a never-ending game of migrant roulette.Last month, Donald Trump announced he will be rescinding the temporary protection status (TPS) for Haitians living in the United States. Under TPS, Haitians whose entire worlds were destroyed by the catastrophic 2010 earthquake, which killed more than 200,000 people, and that displaced over 1.5 million people were provided protection and status in the U.S.

This move will result in the deportation of 60,000 people back to an unstable country still recovering from environmental and political assaults; a country many do not know. Many are left with no choice but to emigrate en masse out of the U.S. There are thousands of families, parents, and children crossing the border into Canada, desperate for a home, and just to be met with immigration detention, arrest and deportation.

As with many Trump policies, Canadians are quick to condemn. However, Trump’s assault on the Haitian diaspora is not unlike Trudeau’s actions within our borders. Despite claiming itself as a “safe haven for refugees,” the Canadian government has arrested more than 3,000 Haitians trying to gain asylum in Canada. Canada too, has turned its back on Haitian refugees looking for safety.

Canadians have an ethical obligation to provide refuge and a home for Haitian refugees fleeing persecution from the U.S. government. After all, Canada has played an active role in the destabilization of the Haitian government by repeatedly infringing on its sovereignty. Haitian politicians, such as Jean-Charles Moise, and Haitian newspapers, like Haiti Progrès, have attributed the ousting of Jean-Bernard Aristide as a significant moment.

In 2003, the federal Liberal government organized an assembly of Canadian, American and French leaders to discuss the state of Haiti — with no actual Haitian officials present. There, they decided to stage a coup-d’état, and forcibly oust Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide. Days later, thousands of troops were deployed into Haiti under a false pretense of regional stabilization. This coup would lead to thousands of deaths of Haitian civilians as collateral damage in the name of Canadian peacekeeping.

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