Nearly 200 asylum seekers in New Brunswick who were bused to the province from the now-closed border crossing at Roxham Road are struggling to find help as they navigate the labyrinthine Canadian immigration system.
With just a single refugee legal clinic in a province that dealt with only 30 asylum claimants in 2022, many of the 187 recently-arrived men, women and children are trying to fill out complicated forms without sound advice. It’s a task made even harder because most aren’t proficient in either of Canada’s two official languages.
The New Brunswick Refugee Clinic is run by law student Olivia Huynh, who serves as both executive director and the sole full-time staff member. The province itself does not provide legal assistance for immigration and refugee cases, meaning asylum seekers have to either go through Ms. Huynh or hire a private lawyer.
Ms. Huynh said the organization is helping migrants fill out forms and holding instructional presentations, but it lacks the capacity to offer personalized consultations for every case.
“Some of them, after the presentations, did end up finding a private lawyer, but the majority of them are not able to afford a private lawyer and there are no legal aid certificates for refugee claims in New Brunswick,” she said. “There’s no other organization at the moment that can provide them with legal services.”
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada started transferring migrants to provinces such as Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to alleviate the influx of thousands of people arriving in Quebec through the irregular border crossing at Roxham Road, which was closed just over a month ago. While the federal government