In a manner similar to America, Canada has a currently unchanging number of 10,000 refugees scheduled to be admitted into the country. As the number of displaced Syrians grows to alarming proportions and reports show that not since World War II have so many persons been displaced from their home country, finding new homes is becoming increasingly difficult for the refugees.
Despite the fact that Canada has refused to amend the amount of refugees it is willing to admit, it has vowed to speed up the processing of refugee applications. Heading into its October 19 elections, the current Conservative Government of Canada has been heavily criticized for their declaration, which was made on Saturday. Chris Alexander, the Immigration Minister, has set the target for September, 2016, which is actually more than a year ahead of the original target date. However, the time frame still lags behind the target dates Liberals had made by about nine months.
The refugee admittance target set by Canada speaks not just to Syrians but is also inclusive of Iraqis. The Telegraph‘s report mentioned that those who have fled their countries are about to receive prima facie status and no longer have to wait for the U.N. agencies to process their papers, especially as the sheer volume of refugees has become so overwhelming that the U.N. is finding it difficult to register refugees.
According to the government, they will be deploying more immigration officials to handle the applications and take measures to obtain private sponsorship and work for the refugees. These methods will hopefully ensure that the vast majority of applications from Syrians and Iraqis are processed within a six month time period. Chris Alexander was very passionate on the reasons for the new process.
“These measures will ensure that thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees will have reached Canada by the end of 2015. Our existing commitment to resettle 10,000 Syrians will be complete a full 15 months earlier than originally anticipated.”
He also stated that the delay is to ensure that the rigorous security and medical screening that has been at the center of all persons seeking refugee status and is definitely still necessary. The country has to ensure that undesirables and terrorists do not use this medium to infiltrate the country.
“This is a plan that doesn’t compromise on security and safety, the screening measures that Canadians rightly expect us to have for refugees … especially when they’re coming from a conflict zone with such large-scale terrorist organizations in them.”
The decision to speed up this process is fueled not just by the amount of refugees but also because of the viral story of the body of a three-year-old Syrian toddler who washed up on the shores of a Turkish beach and the discovery that the boy’s aunt lived in Canada and had unsuccessfully tried to get the boy and his family into Canada. The Wall Street Journal mentioned that the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, became heavily scrutinized following the heartbreaking story because of his delays in refugee processing and heavy-handed security checks in fear of admitting terrorists.
Alexander added that Canada has made heavy donations — upwards of $750 million in humanitarian assistance — to help the displaced persons in the region and also that the country is “contributing strongly” to the military coalition to defeat the Islamic State (ISIS).
[Photo Courtesy of Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images]