Canadian immigration department granted national security threat permanent residency
According to new reports from the CBC, a person of “national security concern” was granted permanent residency in Canada because of “a series of failures” by the immigration department and the border agency.
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale’s office called the incident a “completely unacceptable” mistake. In light of this egregious error, both Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada and the Canadian Border Services Agency have introduced changes aimed at preventing this from happening again.
According to a new study by Statistics Canada this week, the number of immigrants who go all the way to becoming Canadian citizens has dropped significantly. But the bigger picture is more complicated than it seems.
“There are a number of factors that created the decline,” former director-general with Immigration Canada, Andrew Griffith, told CBC.
The decline is significant: from 75 percent in 1996 to only 60 percent in 2016. Factors such as processing fees, complicated language in the citizens’ guide and citizen test difficulty have contributed to the decline.
CBC reports that “the processing fee for citizenship used to be $200, but the amount was increased to $630 under the previous Conservative government, Griffith said.
“If you look at a family of four, you’re talking about $1,500 or so. That’s a significant burden.” Griffith added.
Conservative Party address Canadian border agency’s decision to cancel outstanding illegal entry warrants
The CBSA currently has roughly 48,000 active arrest warrants for people wanted for immigration violations. Such violations include overstaying VISAs or remaining in the country after a refugee claim has been rejected.
However, Global News recently uncovered that the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) “cancels arrest warrants for failed refugee claimants and other people wanted for removal who it cannot find, even in cases where it is not clear whether a person has left Canada.”
According to Global News, the CBSA often cancels an outstanding warrant for someone who has violated immigration laws after the CBSA loses track of that person’s whereabouts. Furthermore, the CBSA is unable to perfectly track whether someone who has violated immigration law has indeed left the country, as they only have access to information on people who have left by ground routes and not by air.
Former border agent and professor at Mount Royal University Kelly Sundberg says that border agents have been cancelling such warrants for people facing deportation for over a decade, well before the CBSA was created in 2003.
“It’s crazy,” Sundberg said. “There’s no way we should have been doing it this way.”
Sundberg says this was common if the person had not committed a crime while in Canada, with border agents only actively going after those whose whereabouts are known and who have broken some other law.
According to Global News, the CBSA considers how long “someone has been wanted in Canada without being detected, plus the age of the wanted individual.” If a person has evaded detection for over 10 years and have not committed any other crime, it’s normal for their warrant to be cancelled.
“In limited circumstances, an immigration warrant may be cancelled even if it cannot be confirmed that an individual has left Canada,” said CBSA spokesperson Rebecca Purdy.
“CBSA officers must exercise due diligence in exhausting all leads to locate an individual before a warrant can be cancelled.”
Since this revelation, Andrew Scheer and the Conservatives have came out strongly against the practice, saying that, if elected, they will put a stop to the cancellation of outstanding warrants.
“We believe that when someone has been ordered deported, that should be carried out,” Scheer stated Friday.
“Cancelling warrants for those ordered deported is unacceptable and a Conservative government will fix this broken process,” added Conservative Party spokesperson Simon Jefferies.
A British family of seven, who earlier this month, crossed the U.S. border illegally, have had their claim that they entered accidentally rejected.
The family entered into the U.S. state of Washington from British Columbia through a ditch. Despite this, the family claimed that this act was entirely unintentional; only wishing to take a “brief detour” on a rural road to avoid an animal.
According to the CBC, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection quickly refuted the family’s claim, stating that the vehicle was recorded driving “slowly and deliberately” into the United States.
After this, the vehicle was pulled over by American border patrol officers and the family was subsequently arrested. The couple has described this ordeal as “the scariest experience of our lives.”
A Customs and Border Protection spokesperson said in an email that two of the adults had previously been denied entry into the U.S.
The United States are now in the process of deporting the family back to the United Kingdom.
Ontario’s Attorney General, Doug Downey, has laid the blame at Justin Trudeau’s feet for the growing refugee and asylum seeker influx the province has been facing.
According to Downey, the province has seen a 160 percent increase in refugee claims since 2013.
“Ontario welcomes more immigrants and refugees than any other province in Canada. Yet, Ontario receives the least federal funding to help cover the costs of claims in your federal tribunal and courts,” wrote Downey in an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“This frustrating imbalance is unfair to newcomers arriving in Ontario and it suggests that your government is putting politics over people.”
The province is seeking further financial compensation from the federal government at the tune of $25 million to fill an alleged “funding gap”.
“The $27.7 million total budget line your government announced this year across all provinces combined would not even cover two-thirds of what Legal Aid Ontario spent last year to manage the impact of your federal decisions and pay for immigration and refugee claims at the federal tribunal and courts,” writes Downey.
Immigration, refugee, and asylum services are properly the responsibility of the federal government claims Downey.
Part of the funding is meant to help refugees receive legal aid in their application process.
“I have on simple ask: instruct your Ministers to reply to Ontario’s earlier requests for proper federal funding of legal aid support for immigration and refugee claimants,” said Downey.