Record Number of U.S. Citizens Sought Asylum in Canada in 2017

Americans fearing deportation by the Trump administration were the third largest group trying to get into Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said that Canada welcomes refugees. (Arindam Shivaani/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
NurPhoto via Getty Images

In 2017, about 2,550 U.S. citizens applied for asylum in Canada — a more than sixfold increase from 2016, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

Americans were the third largest group trying to migrate to Canada, behind only Haitians and Nigerians. The vast majority of children seeking asylum were born to Haitian parents, some in America, where they fear deportation by the Trump Administration, The Guardian reported.

“Most of the Americans applying for refugee status are the children of non-residents,” Montreal immigration lawyer, Stéphane Handfield, told the news site. “They are U.S. citizens because they were born there, but they come across the border with their parents because they don’t want to be separated.”

Though some legal scholars have said the attempt is illegal and unconstitutional, Trump has repeatedly said he wants to find a way to outlaw birthright citizenship.

“We left because President Trump said he wanted to deport people,” said an American immigrant from Haiti who The Guardian only referenced by his first name, Tiroude.

“If I go back to Haiti, I die. It’s that simple,” Tiroude’s wife, Gislyne, said. The couple has an 18-month-old daughter who was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

“Going to Haiti as a parent is dangerous,” Tiroude said. “For my kids it’s worse because they don’t know it. They won’t know how to speak Creole. We’re very pessimistic, because they’re starting to deport people.”

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