Editor’s note: This article has been updated with corrections. The original piece attributed Mr. Sergio Karas’ words that the asylum system has “collapsed” to Minister Ahmed Hussen. Changes have been also made where the article mistakenly conflated the immigration system with the asylum claims system which is handled separately by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB).
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen must enjoy having a tough job because he seems to be intent on making it even more difficult. From heavy increases to immigration levels to mishandling Canada’s border and ever-growing wait times, Minister Hussen has gambled with Canada’s immigration policy. But in typical Liberal fashion, Mr. Hussen continues to deny any wrong doing and pretend like everything is okay.
These are three times when Ahmed Hussen contradicted himself on immigration.
1. By calling border-crossers “irregular” and then admitting that what they’re doing is illegal
Hussen’s latest favourite tactic is to delineate the conversation around his disastrous tenure as the immigration minister by changing the meaning of age old terms.
Once the influx of border crossings reached a new height, Hussen began touting the now commonplace phrase “irregular border crossers”. However, in the same breath Ahmed Hussen admitted that crossing the border is in fact an illegal act.
“When someone crosses our border, it’s an illegal act. But once they’re on Canadian soil and they claim asylum, the charge of crossing irregularly is stayed pending the determination of their asylum claim,” said Hussen.
Even Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale made sure to reiterate the fact that those crossing the border will in fact be arrested upon entry, because what they are doing is illegal.
It’s not enough that Hussen is caught up in his own double think but he wants to impose his cognitive dissonance onto others, which includes telling the Premier of Ontario how to speak.
2. When he claimed that he “fixed” Canada’s immigration system and then admitted that the asylum backlog is “not sustainable”
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has continued to give himself stellar performance reviews about his handling of Canada’s borders and immigration.
In a speech in Surrey, British Columbia on August 20th while speaking on the state of Canada’s immigration system before he arrived he said “It was a system, as I said, that needed to be fixed. And as soon as we got into office, we started right away to turn that system around.”
However, Canadians beg to differ. According to a recent poll, 68% of people polled “believe the government is handling the issue of irregular asylum seekers poorly” and nearly half of Canadians believe the Minister’s immigration targets are “too high”.
Even the immigration minister himself admitted that the current asylum system is “not sustainable” in a leaked internal memo.
Asylum processing and claims are handled by a separate entity, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) while immigration and citizenship is handled by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada.
While wait times and backlogs for immigration streams like spousal sponsorship have gone down, the asylum system has been a thorn in the Minister’s side as the asylum backlog has grown to over 28,000 cases.
“I honestly do not understand how it is that the federal government can look the people of Canada in the eye and say that the system works,” said immigration lawyer Sergio Karas “Because the system has collapsed.”
3. When he said that wait times have fallen under the Liberals, but data shows they have gone up
In the same speech at Surrey, Ahmed Hussen claimed that under his oversight immigration wait times have improved.
Yet data as recent as September shows that wait times for refugee claim hearings have “increased more than a third over the past two years”.
The asylum system has been plagued with backlogs and slow processing times, yet for Minister Hussen everything is sunny along Canada’s borders.