One of the local concerns I am hearing more about, is the growing frustration from those who are in the queue and waiting for applications to be processed related to citizenship and immigration and in particular, asylum claims.
Many families in this situation believe that they are being further delayed because those entering Canada illegally (currently over 30,000) are getting priority treatment over those who enter legally and follow all of the proper rules and procedures.
The Liberal Government has consistently denied this is occurring, stating that “asylum seekers are processed under a separate category neither ahead or behind applicants for immigration, permanent residence or citizenship.”
The Liberals have also stated that for unsuccessful applicants “there are no guarantees that you will be able to stay in Canada”.
This week the Globe & Mail published a report that indicates that the wait time for a refugee claim hearing in Canada has increased more than a third over the past two years and that the “the resulting backlog has created a growing queue for any and all asylum seekers.”
The Globe & Mail report is consistent with the growing concern and frustration that I am hearing locally.
Another troubling statistic from the Globe & Mail, and I quote directly, “a separate data set from the Canada Border Services Agency shows that only a handful of those who have been denied refugee status have been deported.”
The report states that of the 32,173 people who crossed into Canada illegally since April, 2017, only 398 have been deported.
Of those, 146 were sent back to the United States.
The remainder to 53 other countries including Haiti (53), Colombia (24), Turkey (19) and Iraq (15).
As the National Post has reported, under the previous Conservative Government in 2012/13, the number of failed claimants that were returned to their country of origin was 14,490.
In 2016/17, under the Liberal Government, that number has declined to just 3,892.
The Liberals like to suggest that pointing out this growing problem is “stoking fears on immigration,” an accusation I will continue to categorically reject.
As I have stated in the past - supporting legal immigration to Canada is how we ensure fairness for those citizens who are making every effort to fully comply with Canadian law.
My question this week:
Do you believe that those who make every effort to legally comply with our immigration system are being treated fairly as their application wait times continue to grow?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll free 1-800-665-8711.
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Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.