The Canadian government is planning to “quietly introduce new measures” to rubber-stamp the approval of fake asylum seekers by bypassing some of the important screening and vetting measures currently used by Canadian officials.
According to a report in the Edmonton Sun, the new measures are being introduced to “deal with the unprecedented spike in landed asylum claims from aspiring refugees to Canada.”
According to two senior sources—both former high-ranking officials in the department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada—the newspaper said that the new “policy would fast-track and quickly accept asylum claims from countries with historically high acceptance rates into Canada by the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB).”
Examples of countries that could fall under this category include Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Eritrea.
According to a notice posted on the IRB website, the government is working to fast-track applications.
“As a result of rapidly increasing refugee claims, global instability and a backlog of new refugee claims, the IRB will be changing its approach for scheduling RPD (Refugee Protection Division) hearings beginning at the end of March 2017,” the notice says.
It goes on to state that, under the new forthcoming process, “certain claims identified by the RPD as straight forward will be scheduled for a short hearing.”
A former official familiar with this process told media that in these circumstances, it would mean that “certain claims may be approved without a hearing,” and instead would be rubber-stamped on a “paper-based only” application.
The IRB notice goes on to state: “Countries which have an acceptance rate at the RPD of approximately 80% or higher will be the first to be considered for inclusion in the new short hearing process.”
Countries with high acceptance rates for refugees, such as Pakistan and Syria, also tend to have significant numbers of claims rejected for national security reasons, including individuals affiliated with terrorist organizations and those wanted for war crimes.
Another immigration official, speaking on condition of anonymity due to his current connection with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, said he is “a bit uncomfortable with this,” noting that “some bad dudes come from these countries.”
Meanwhile, a Reuters report claimed that the fake asylum seekers crossing into Canada from the U.S. “may have miscalculated in viewing Canada as a safe haven.”
The Reuters review of Canadian federal court rulings on asylum seekers and interviews with refugee lawyers found that their time in the United States could count against them when they apply for asylum in Canada.
In 2016, 160 asylum cases came to the federal courts after being rejected by refugee tribunals. Of those, 33 had been rejected in part because the applicants had spent time in the United States, the Reuters review found.
“Abandoning a claim in the United States or coming to Canada after a negative decision in the United States, or failing to claim and remaining in the States for a long period of time—these are all big negatives. Big, big negatives,” said Toronto-based legal aid lawyer Anthony Navaneelan, who is representing applicants who came to Canada from the United States in recent months.