This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Claiming Asylum in Canada

"Even if  your claim is likely to have been found invalid, one has the time to establish oneself in the country and have access to social assistance."
"[The government of Canada has bungled the] illegal border crossing crisis [and in the process is] losing social license to operate the immigration system."
Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel, Conservative immigration critic

"CBSA [Canada Border Services Agency] is just not providing basic reporting information, even though it's instantly accessible literally at the push of a button."
"[Lacking such details] it's hard for us to have an intelligent, evidence-based discussion on [immigration and refugee] policy."
Richard Kurland, veteran immigration lawyer

A large number of failed asylum seekers remain in Canada, though their status as failed applicants mitigate against their staying in the country. On the other hand, there are appeal processes that can be invoked, and it can be years on end before all such processes of appeal can be exhausted and in the interim failed applicants remain in the country. Another alternative beyond appealing the rejection of their claims for asylum is simply to melt into the background and remain within the country as illegals. Much as is seen in the United States, where the Trump administration has announced a crackdown and removal on the presence of undocumented migrants.

The goal of the CBSA was the removal of 80 percent of failed asylum seekers within a year of their claim's rejection, including appeals. In reality, 47 percent were successfully removed in the 2015/16 year, and for the following fiscal year removal of 63 percent was accomplished. In a glass-half-empty scenario, that leaves quite a few illegal and failed applicants in Canada. And while the CBSA declines to say how many warrants are in existence, they did divulge the number of 44,773 outstanding warrants for those slated for deportation without linking them to failed applications.

According to Mr. Kurland the system has been improved from its disorderly status of a decade earlier when large numbers of illegitimate asylum seekers from eastern Europe streamed to Canada, drawn by the generous social assistance programs available. At that time the wait time for a refugee hearing was up to four years, another two or three years thrown in to exhaust appeals on denial. The Conservative government of the time took steps to speed up the process.

And now comes news that Canada's social assistance, education, health services, emergency housing and legal aid offered to asylum seekers is likely facing an imminent flood of illegal asylum seekers yet again, through an influx along the Quebec border. Because of the Safe Third Country Agreement signed between Canada and the U.S., refugees claiming asylum at the first point of entry cannot legally re-claim asylum at another entry point; for example, from the U.S. to Canada.
A Haitian-Canadian Liberal legislator is due to visit Miami home to a large expatriate community, in a bid to persuade people to stay put. Officials complain false stories are circulating about how easy it is to be granted permission to stay in Canada.

This has led to migrants bypassing official entry points to enter illegally, deliberately. Once they enter and declare themselves to the RCMP, they are handed over to immigration authorities and enabled to make application, despite their choice of illegal entry. Over the summer months approximately 200 mostly Haitian refugees made that illegal crossing daily, totalling 13,000 people whose presence strained an already-bursting system, unable to keep up with demand.

The number of illegals are now diminished in number to 60 to 70 daily, explained Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the Customs and Immigration Union who speaks of the "plugged" processing system, and the "huge wave" of refugee claimants on the horizon. "We're talking about a major crisis", he said soberly. Despite which, the Liberal government's Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen has not raised the issue of the unworkability of the Agreement with his U.S. counterpart.

And while the U.S. is lifting its temporary asylum for Nicaraguan nationals' temporary protected status, and for Hondurans, Salvadoreans and Haitians, all these people who have enjoyed privileged status in the United States, made lives for themselves and their families, established employment, had children, hoped for permanent status, now cast their hopeful eyes toward Canada. And as they do so, perhaps recall that the Prime Minister of the country issued a public invitation for refugees to look to Canada as a haven, in one of his superior-to-the-U.S. displays of hubris.

Under the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, asylum seekers must prove they require protection from torture, death or "cruel and unusual treatment or punishment" in their country of origin. As a result, only a very small number of asylum seekers will have their asylum applications accepted and processed. Those people considered to be eligible can claim a wide range of social benefits as well as a work permit.

Those whose claims are rejected may appeal to the refugee appeals division of the immigration department or make application to the Federal Court for a review of the decision to reject their application. The tens of thousands representing a backlog ensures the process takes years to complete. Applications with failed refugee claims and under a removal order are generally ineligible for social assistance and have no work permit. Those who remain regardless, work and live under the legal radar.

This country risks being overwhelmed by a massive number of people whom the United States is prepared to drive out of their country and straight into Canada. President Trump has made no secret of his intention to clear his country of illegal migrants who have overstayed their welcome, hoping that the tide of fortune would change in their favour. In responding to Trump's anti-migrant message, Justin Trudeau fatuously delivered his personal message as Prime Minister of Canada that anyone fearing persecution, terror and war can come to Canada.

The result of which in large measure is that those countless hopefuls whose quest for a new life does not include fear of persecution, terrorism and conflict, but rather lack of employment opportunities and societies riven with corruption and crime, migrate to wealthy parts of the world in the hope that they too can take advantage of promising new economic and social opportunities. Who can blame them? But what country attempting to maintain itself on an even keel can afford to bankrupt its economy, its structure for lawful entry ensuring order and self-respect?

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