Canada rejected concerns voiced by US security over its fast-tracked resettlement of thousands of Syrian refugees, as the Senate in Washington prepares to hold a hearing on the repercussions for America. Canada’s Liberal government aims to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February, more than double the US intake.
Canadian public safety minister Ralph Goodale told parliament “We have put in place layers of security activity to ensure that our refugee initiative with respect to Syria can be successful. The program is working well and indeed it will resolve in something that Canadians can be very, very proud of.”
The US congressional panel is meeting shortly to consider “Canada’s Fast-Track Refugee Plan: Unanswered Questions and Implications for US National Security.”
The Ottawa government declined an invitation to appear before the US Senate hearing. Goodale said US officials have been fully briefed on Canada’s refugee resettlement and the layers of security screening in place currently include UN assessments of asylum seekers, collection of biometrics and checks against security databases.
A spokeswoman for Canada’s foreign affairs minister added, “We have emphasized and will continue to emphasize the integrity and robustness of our approach to the selection and screening of the Syrian refugees under consideration.”
The government’s initial plan of bringing 25,000 refugees to Canada by the end of 2015 was pushed back due to logistical issues and amid security concerns in the aftermath of deadly attacks in Paris.
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