The head of the Refugee and Immigrant Advisory Council says he's seeing a rise in anti-immigrant sentiment in Newfoundland and Labrador since the election of Donald Trump.

"It's permeating. We have seen here a [rise] in that type of response, the 'go home', the 'speak English here'. We don't want this kind of things, that kind of responses, that we never saw here in Newfoundland ever," said Jose Rivera, the organization's executive director.

"People are coming to us more and more with complaints that racism's happening."

Rivera said he believes the election of Donald Trump, his comments about Mexican immigrants being rapists and murderers, and his calls to ban Muslims may not have changed people's minds in this province, but now they may feel it's more acceptable to express that view.

"What we see as the first impact is the empowerment of racism and discrimination because of what's happening in the United States," he said.


U.S. president-elect Donald Trump and Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto shake hands at a press conference. Trump has vowed to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico to stop illegal immigration. (Henry Romero/Reuters)

More Americans looking at NL

Rivera said more Americans are reaching out to his organization wondering how they can immigrate to Canada.

"There's people calling us now asking if we can help somehow," he said.

The advisory council provides things like English as a second language classes and help for immigrants navigating the system in the province. It doesn't help people looking to immigrate.

Since Trump's election, Rivera said the calls have increased from once a week to at least one a day.

Recently, he took 10 calls in one day from people looking to come to the province.

That could present an opportunity for the province. The provincial government recently pledged to increase immigration by 50 per cent.

"There's a wealth of opportunity here," Rivera said

He said the key is to have enough support services to ensure immigrants feel welcome and are helped to integrate into their new life in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He said right now many immigrants don't get that support and leave for elsewhere in Canada.