Sunday, May 19, 2024

Ottawa to propose new asylum rules to allow for faster deportations – National |

Must read

The Liberal government is proposing to make changes to Canada’s asylum claim system which could speed up the deportation process for rejected applicants from the country.

The proposed amendments were quietly announced two weeks ago in the 2024 federal budget and come as Canada deals with a record number of asylum seekers.

“Budget 2024 also proposes to introduce changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to simplify and streamline the claims process in support of faster decisions and quicker removals,” it reads.

Click to play video: 'Surge in refugee claimants putting pressure on Canadian airports'

Surge in refugee claimants putting pressure on Canadian airports

Immigration Minister Marc Miller’s office would not provide additional information to Global News, with his press secretary Bahoz Dara Aziz citing “parliamentary privilege.”

Story continues below advertisement

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) did not provide clarity either, instead issuing a statement that closely resembled what was in the budget.

IRCC says the new measures will “improve the efficiency of the asylum system without compromising fairness or compassion for those in need of protection.”

Click to play video: 'Feds announce target for number of temporary residents arriving to Canada for 1st time'

Feds announce target for number of temporary residents arriving to Canada for 1st time

“Whenever lawyers hear the government say the word ‘streamline’ or make things more efficient, we always know that people’s rights are about to get sacrificed on the altar of administrative efficiency,” said immigration and refugee lawyer Chantal Desloges in an interview with Global News.

Breaking news from Canada and around the world
sent to your email, as it happens.

“The government is being very tight lipped about what they’re planning to actually change, which also makes me a little bit nervous,” Desloges added.

Since March of this year, 46,736 people have applied for asylum in Canada, according to the IRB. That is a 62 per cent increase from the same period in 2023, while the backlog stands at 186,000, according to the agency.

Story continues below advertisement

An increase in temporary immigration has also been linked in part to Canada’s housing crisis. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned the situation needs to be brought “under control,” saying temporary immigration has “grown at a rate far beyond what Canada has been able to absorb.”

As the numbers of applicants surge, so have wait times for asylum seekers.

It can take years for cases to be heard by the IRB.

How hard is it to remove people?

The Canada Border Services Agency has struggled to remove applicants whose claims have been rejected or withdrawn.

As of this February, the CBSA issued more than 28,000 “active warrants” to “failed refugee claimants.”

“We as a country need to invest in the refugee determination process so that they get a fair opportunity to have their case [and] their fear understood and a decision made,” said immigration and refugee lawyer Warren Creates.

Story continues below advertisement

“The ones who fail, whose cases are rejected, should be removed. I think justice requires that.”

Click to play video: 'Rodriguez defends federal record on spending for asylum seekers amidst pressure from Quebec'

Rodriguez defends federal record on spending for asylum seekers amidst pressure from Quebec

Ottawa has pledged $743.5 million over five years to the CBSA, IRCC and the IRB to try to deal with the backlog of 186,000 asylum claims. More than 141,000 were filed last year alone.

“The IRB is resourced to handle 50,000 intaking claims a year,” Creates said. “They’re not resourced for the 140,000 that came last year. … To tread water, they need to triple their budgets and their adjudication.”

The proposed changes to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act are part of a series of new measures announced by Ottawa.

The immigration minister has reinstated the visa requirement for Mexican nationals, introduced a cap on international students, and more recently reduced the amount they can work to 24 hours per week.

Story continues below advertisement

Up to now, Miller has ruled out changing the asylum criteria which could make it more difficult for claimants to remain in Canada.

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Latest article