Refuting the claims
Conservatives ready to roll out unwelcome mat to bogus refugee claimants
By GREG WESTON, QMI Agency
Last Updated: March 30, 2010 2:00am
OTTAWA—-The Conservative government is set to roll out the unwelcome mat to the annual stampede of bogus refugee claimants trying to jump the immigration line.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is expected to unveil plans Tuesday aimed at identifying fake claimants and giving them the boot a lot more efficiently than at present.
A senior federal official confirms Kenney will announce a new list of safe countries least likely to be persecuting anyone.
Anyone claiming refugee status from one of those countries would be put into a kind of immigration express lane faster decisions, quicker evictions.
Just about anything would be an improvement.
Canadas refugee determination system harms everyone from taxpayers to the displaced souls actually fleeing persecution and the ravages of war.
The latest immigration statistics show that last year, just over 33,000 people made refugee claims in this country.
The vast majority of those either claimed refugee status at the border, or were already in the country on visas as students, temporary workers or visitors.
Statistically, over 19,000 of those claims roughly 58% will be deemed bogus, and the claimants ordered out of the country.
The problem is, all that could take years, and even then there is no guarantee those turfed out of Canada actually leave.
Over 40,000 deportees are currently missing.
Successive governments have built into law so many safeguards to ensure fair hearings for all that getting through the system generally takes at least two years, and often much longer.
That is obviously debilitating for legitimate refugee families who have escaped horrific circumstances with nothing, and just want to get on with their new lives.
But slow is perfect for the fraudulent claimants.
With a backlog of over 90,000 refugee claims waiting to be heard at any given time, delaying cases for years is a no-brainer for immigration lawyers.
Bogus claims abound
In the meantime, faux refugees are entitled to all the welfare, health care and other services this country so generously offers newcomers.
This helps to explain why 9,300 unemployed Mexicans made refugee claims in Canada in 2008, far more than from any other country, and fully 25% of the total claims by all nationalities that year.
Statistically, about 90% of them will eventually be denied, but over 18,000 are currently on the dole waiting.
Now its the Hungarian gypsies who have become Canadas number one refugee claimants.
So far, out of 2,500 claims, all but three have been rejected as bogus.
If that sounds absurd, there were 939 refugee claimants from the U.S. last year.
All those will likely be denied.
There has to be a better way.
The Conservative government managed to get the Mexican invasion under control by slapping visas on everyone wanting to come here from that country, including tourists.
But visas ultimately hurt trade, tourism, diplomatic relations and risk retaliation in kind against Canadians.
The success of any refugee program overhaul depends on how much money the government is willing to throw at an extremely expensive problem.
In the meantime, Immigration Minister Kenney deserves kudos from all Canadians for daring to go where politicians in this country have so long feared to tread.
Canada has been an immigration mark long enough.