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Canada wakes up to immigration reality after 'refugees welcome' dream

Canada wakes up to immigration reality after 'refugees welcome' dream
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Justin Trudeau tweeted this message to people “fleeing persecution, terror & war,” which appears to have been a reaction to Trump’s order.

This tweet illustrates the need to be careful about what one says on a social media website.  With a few key strokes on his computer, the Canadian prime minister insulted the president of the United States by implying that his travel ban order, which included a suspension of refugee admissions, was based on religious discrimination.  

Also, it gave false hope to desperate, displaced people. People fleeing terror and war are not necessarily “refugees.” They aren’t going to be given refuge on that basis in Canada.

People fleeing persecution may be refugees, but only if their persecution is based on race, religion, political opinion, nationality, or membership in a particular social group.

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According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, 65.6 million people have been displaced from their homes by conflict and persecution, but only 34 percent of them are refugees.

Canada’s refugee target for 2017 is 40,000 refugees, and refugees are screened and selected abroad before they come to Canada. Asylum applications, however, are adjudicated in Canada, and there are no numerical limits on the number of asylees that Canada will accept.  But there are other obstacles.

Applying for asylum in Canada.  

The Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States requires asylum seekers to apply for asylum in the first safe country they reach after they have fled from their own countries.  This means that migrants cannot apply for asylum in Canada if they have been in the United States, but the fact that Trump is cracking down on illegal immigration has encouraged many asylum seekers to leave the United States to seek asylum in Canada.  

They are able to apply for asylum in Canada because the Agreement only applies if they apply at a Port of Entry on the border between the two countries. They can bypass this restriction by making an illegal land crossing between the Ports of Entry.  

Trudeau has said that Canada will accept asylum seekers crossing illegally from the United States.

Consequently, thousands of asylum seekers have made illegal entries along the Canadian border.

So many asylum seekers are doing this that the Canadian government has had to set up processing centers at popular illegal crossing points, and finding shelter for the crossers has become a problem. Montreal’s Olympic Stadium is being used as a center for housing hundreds of asylum seekers, and a camp is being built for 500 asylum seekers near the border. 

The government arrests illegal crossers, but they give migrants who might be able to establish asylum eligibility temporary papers, a bus pass, and a monthly government stipend of up to 900 Canadian dollars ($705.00) to manage while they wait for their asylum hearings.

Concern about criminals entering among the asylum seekers.

According to a poll conducted earlier this year by the Angus Reid Institute, 93 percent of the Canadians believe there is a risk that criminals will cross the border with the asylum seekers.

Difficulty processing so many asylum applications.

According to an Immigration Department memorandum which was obtained by the Canadian press under Canada’s Access to Information Act, as of the end of April, there were 12,040 asylum claims, and it was viewed as likely that there would be 36,000 of them by the end of the year. If this continues, the wait time for an asylum hearing could reach 11 years by the end of 2021.

The backlog of pending asylum cases reached 24,404 in June 2017.

The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has deployed up to half of its capacity to address backlog claims, and it has established a process for disposing of straightforward cases with short hearings.  

Canada is not the only country overwhelmed by asylum applications.

The immigration court backlog in the United States has been growing larger every year since FY 2006.  As of the end of August 2017, it was 632,261 cases, many of which were asylum cases.

Expedited removal proceedings may be the only way to reduce the backlog.  In expedited removal proceedings, an alien can be deported without a hearing before an immigration judge, unless he has a credible fear of persecution.  

Europe also is having this problem.  By the end of 2016, the backlog of unprocessed asylum applications in Europe had reached more than a million cases.

Another tweet.

Trudeau sent out a follow-up tweet a few months ago in which he states that although Canada is a welcoming society, it also is a country of laws.

Apparently, he realizes now that he can’t save the people fleeing persecution, terror, and war by inviting them to Canada.    

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years.