As Salvadorans Lose U.S. Protections, Will Some Seek Asylum in Quebec?

Jan 11, 2018

As Temporary Protected Status (TPS) ends for about 200,000 Salvadorans living in the U.S., some may venture to Quebec, following other groups who have also lost protections under the Trump administration.

Salvadorans were originally granted protected status in 2001, following a major earthquake in El Salvador. This week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced those protections will end in September 2019, and in the meantime, Salvadorans in the U.S. will have to re-register for TPS.

As Salvadorans with TPS consider their future, some may seek asylum in Canada. Thousands of others have gone a similar route, many crossing illegally into Quebec in upstate New York, seeking refugee status through a legal loophole.

Listen: The Other Side Of Roxham Road: Canada Grapples With Border Refugees

Once in Canada, asylum seekers are arrested, processed and can apply for work permits while their refugee claim is decided. That decision can take years.

A few months back, TPS ended for Haitians in the U.S., sending many across the Canadian border. Eric Taillefer, a legal aid immigration attorney in Montreal, says he anticipates a similar wave as Salvadorans lose protections in the U.S.

“Even if only 5 percent of those people come to make asylum claims, it’s still going to be around 10,000 people, which is more than the spike we had in the month of August with the Haitian cases,” Taillefer says.

Eric Taillefer spoke with VPR’s Henry Epp. Listen to their full conversation above.