Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has retracted a controversial measure that was part of his proposed refugee reforms. The rule would have allowed refugee claimants arriving by boat to be detained up to one year without any case review.
The amendment proposed last week by Minister Kenney would allow claimants to see a judge within 14 days of arrival, and then again after 6 months. Critics are applauding the move, saying that detaining refugee claimants for such long periods will not only hurt Canada’s international reputation, but was also not necessary.
Though the recent arrival of two large boats filled with Tamil migrants of the coast of Vancouver was highly publicized, and likely inspired some of the reforms, experts say that most refugee claimants do not arrive via boat. Before the Tamil migrant incident, it had been nearly a decade since a similar major incident occurred.
However, there are still many problems with the refugee system that the government hopes to address through reforms. Minister Kenney argues that too many false claimants arrive and then “game” the system for years while their case goes through appeals.
Other reforms that are being proposed include fast-tracking claims from countries that have previously been classified as “safe” and continued requirement of visitor visas from traditional source countries.
The refugee claim rate has actually declined from 2008 to 2011 by almost 10,000 cases, and most claims are now from citizens of European countries like Hungary and Poland.
Source: Globe and Mail