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Canada is Using Olympic Stadiums to House Refugees Pouring in From the US

One of the most powerful landmarks in Canada is now being used to house refugees from the United States.

According to reports from Canadian news, Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is being used to house thousands of refugees who are crossing the border to seek asylum in Canada.

The asylum seekers, the majority of which are in the U.S. temporarily on visas or humanitarian passes, are overwhelming the Canadian immigration system.

According to the report in Circa:

Provincial aid workers in Quebec created the new shelter due to an unusually large influx of asylum seekers, most of them Haitian, who have illegally crossed into Canada from the U.S. over the past several months, according to the CBC.

“We’ve never seen this before,” Francine Dupuis, spokesperson for PRAIDA, the Quebec government organization responsible for aiding those claiming refugee status, told the CBC on Wednesday. “It’s really quite a bit more intense than what we are used to.”

Workers set up between 100 and 450 cots in the stadium’s concession area, just outside the main arena. PRAIDA historically had used a Montreal YMCA as temporary shelter for the migrants, but the new surge has overloaded current capacity. Dupuis noted that approximately 1,200 people crossed from the U.S. in July alone, while her organization helped only 180 in July 2016. More than 3,300 entered entered Quebec between January and June, according to the BBC.

The most likely reason for the influx is thought to be potential deportation for the foreign nationals under the Trump administration. Top-ranking immigration officials in the administration have recommended the deportation of over 55,000 Haitians who were granted the right to live temporarily in the U.S. after a 2010 earthquake turned their country into a humanitarian disaster zone.

The potential for the fleeing Haitian population to remain in Canada is unsure at the moment, but local leaders are promising “cooperation” on the issue.