Canada Reviewing U.S. Refugee Law Change

Canada reviewing U.S. refugee law change

The Globe and Mail
With a report from Reuters
August 22, 2008

TORONTO — Canada is reviewing a move by the United States to halt a program that reunited African refugees with their relatives after DNA testing showed people were lying.

A spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said yesterday that it will likely not have a great impact on the country's immigration system because the two countries' refugee programs differ. But one immigration lawyer warned that Canada could see more African refugees looking for a new route into North America:

“When one door is closed, people seek to open other doors. It seems likely that it will have an impact on people trying to come into Canada,” Toronto's Lorne Waldman said.

The U.S. State Department said this week that DNA tests on applicants in seven African countries showed only about 20 per cent actually had a family relationship. As a result, the family reunification program that has brought together thousands of refugees with relatives in the U.S. has been shut down for refugees in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Guinea and Gambia.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said the program has been “suspended,” and added that the government is “looking into it further to see what we can do.”

In Canada, government-assisted refugees do not need to have family in the country to enter.