Canada sent on Wednesday a Spanish-speaking lawmaker to California to dissuade potential migrants and refugees from crossing the border following Washington’s decision to end the temporary protected status of some 200,000 Salvadorans.
The trip was planned in anticipation of Monday's decision by US President Donald Trump and was part of a Canadian government attempt to prevent an influx of border-crossers like the one that occurred last year after the United States said it would end the temporary protected status granted to some 50,000 Haitians following a devastating earthquake in the Caribbean nation in 2010.
Canada is sending Member of Parliament Pablo Rodriguez to California next week to talk to government officials and immigration groups about how Canada's immigration and refugee system works, Jaswal said.
Rodriguez is at least the third official whom Canada has sent to the United States in recent months, officially in a bid to dispel misinformation about receiving asylum. Most recently, the immigration minister himself went to Minneapolis, which is home to the largest Somali population in the United States.
More than 18,000 asylum seekers crossed the US border into Canada last year to file refugee claims, almost 17,000 of whom went to the primarily French-speaking province of Quebec.
Asylum seekers cross because under a US-Canada agreement they will be turned back if they try to file refugee claims at formal land border crossings because asylum seekers must file claims in the first country where they land, unless they meet certain exemptions.
Angela Ventura, a representative of a Salvadoran-Canadian association in Windsor, Ontario, said she expects Salvadorans in the United States to move north following Monday's announcement.
Many of them have reasonable grounds for claiming refugee status in Canada, said Toronto refugee lawyer Raoul Boulakia. "The situation in El Salvador is extremely dangerous," he said.
More than 500 Salvadorans claimed refugee status in Canada in the first nine months of last year - more than double the total for 2016 and more than any year since at least 2013, according to Immigration and Refugee Board statistics. About two-thirds of the claimants whose cases were finalized were granted refugee status.