Kenney: 160 Haitians Received Permanent Resident Status

Kenney: 160 Haitians received permanent resident visas

By ELIZABETH THOMPSON, Parliamentary Bureau
The Toronto Sun
Last Updated: March 16, 2010 7:37pm

OTTAWA—-While thousands of Haitians are applying to come to Canada in the wake of Januarys devastating earthquake, only 160 have received permanent resident visas so far, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said Tuesday.

However, testifying before a parliamentary committee, Kenney said processing applications has been a challenge because of damage to the immigration departments operation in Haiti, delays in medical exams and the difficulty carrying out security checks in a country where records, the police and judicial system have been devastated.

Every week we are processing more and I think the special program will pick up momentum, said Kenney.

Meanwhile, Canada has issued 1,500 temporary resident visas, the majority to people accompanying Canadian citizens being evacuated from Haiti, and 203 adoptions have gone through.

In terms of prioritizing our immigration response to Haiti, we felt it was appropriate to focus on children who would probably be the most susceptible to the disorder, to the lack of clean water, shelter and the crisis in general.

Earlier, in response to questions about why gays and same sex marriage were left out of the governments new citizenship guide, Kenney said he is willing to consider revisions to future editions of the guide.

Kenney also renewed his vow to crack down on unscrupulous immigration consultants, saying he will bring in measures to more closely monitor and regulate consultants and punish those who commit fraud.

He will also bring in what he described as a balanced refugee reform proposal.

Meanwhile, Kenney announced more open access to immigration statistics, saying the numbers will be published on his departments website on a quarterly basis.