Cornwall lawyer expecting more calls from asylum seekers fleeing the U.S.
More than 300 expected to arrive at temporary intake centre by end of Friday
At least 100 asylum seekers from the U.S. have settled into a temporary intake centre in Cornwall, Ont., and as more are expected to arrive, one immigration lawyer says he is eager to help.
Gordon Campbell, a lawyer with the firm Aubrey Campbell McLean, put his name out there to help people fleeing the U.S. after President Donald Trump announced his travel ban, and now he's expecting more people to call his office.
"We do remain the country in the world that accepts more refugees than anyone in a percentage. It's about 51-52 per cent of all claimants come to Canada are accepted," Campbell told CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning on Friday.
The temporary intake centre in Cornwall is located about 40 kilometres from the Quebec border and is run by Nav Canada. It has 560 rooms, according to its website.
UPDATE: 100 asylum seekers have arrived at centre in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Cornwall?src=hash">#Cornwall</a>, more expected tonight. NAV Canada site can accommodate 500 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ottnews?src=hash">#ottnews</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash">#cdnpoli</a> <a href="https://t.co/9nlZ6qxVA0">pic.twitter.com/9nlZ6qxVA0</a>—@CBCOttawa
Campbell is one of the very few, if not the only, local immigration lawyer in Cornwall. He said he sometimes get calls from people before they cross over illegally, usually into Quebec, and often represents them at refugee bail hearings.
'A very positive step'
The Cornwall facility is meant to ease the burden of asylum seekers that have been crossing illegally into Quebec. The RCMP announced Thursday 3,800 migrants crossed illegally into Quebec since Aug. 1.
"It's certainly a very positive development," Campbell said of the Nav Centre being used to help the asylum seekers.
"I've found [Cornwall] to be a place that's very welcoming and open to outsiders. It's got the 11th busiest border crossing in all of Canada to start with. Since the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway, it's been a city of a lot of immigrants."
Nav Canada spokesman Ron Singer said he expected 240 people to be housed in the facility by the end of day Friday.
Cornwall's mayor, Leslie O'Shaughnessy, told CBC Radio Thursday he has no qualms with Nav Canada opening up its centre to the influx of asylum seekers.
"Personally, I have nothing against what they're doing — nor should I have," he said. "It's private business, really."