After the terror attacks in Paris which left over 130 people dead, some Canadian citizens and leaders are questioning Prime Minister Trudeau’s commitment to resettle 25,000 refugees in Canada before the end of the year.
On Monday, citing security concerns, Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to rethink plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada by the end of the year.
Wall said in the wake of last week’s Paris killings, he wants to see a “redoubling” of security checks before the refugees are brought into Canada.
Two stage screening process for refugees coming to Canada
In a recent opinion piece in The Tyee, immigration lawyer Laura Best says writes that Canada can safely meet its commitment to resettle 25,000 refugees by the end of the year. How?
Best explains the UNHCR (United Nations HIgh Commissioner for Refugees) has been on the ground in Syria’s neighbouring countries for years now.
“And they have a robust screening process before they’re even placed to be eligible for re-settlement. So that involves being screened for criminality, security threats and being screened for credibility.”
- Only 1-2% of the refugees that are registered with the UNHCR agency are ever placed into the resettlement pool, and they are heavily vetted before that’s done.
- Canada taps into that vetted pool.
- Then Canada re-does its own security screening, including medical, criminal and background checks by the Canadian Visa office abroad, which involved coordination with CSIS, the RCMP, looking at international databases like Interpol, and often re-interviewing applicants.
“Canada is pre-selecting, pre-screening overseas before they ever make it to Canada.”
“Fast-tracking” refugees is a misnomer
“Canada actually does have a history of bringing refugees from war zones very quickly after a conflict. We did it in Vietnam, we did it in Kosovo. There’s no reason that those resources can’t be deployed to bring people quickly while still maintaining the integrity of the security screening.”
What about that one person?
“First of all, it’s highly unlikely given the two stage screening, first by the UNHCR and then by Canada, that someone could get through. And the evidence just doesn’t bear out that those individuals would be coming through this stream. What we saw in Paris as that …all of the identified attackers were either French or Belgium citizens. And what is important to distinguish is Canada is bringing pre-screened refugees.The migrants who are going into Europe are moving of their own volition, they are not being pre-screened before they go to Europe.”
Perpetrators of terrorism attacks are citizens, not refugees
Canadian citizens behind the attacks in Ottawa and Victoria. Belgian and French citizens behind the attacks in Paris. European citizens who could fly to Canada anytime because they don’t need a VISA to get into our country.
Refugees are Canada’s future law-abiding, hard-working citizens
According to Best, neighbourhoods with a high percentage of new immigrants see a decrease in violent crime.
“They often are hard-working, so grateful they’ve found safe haven for their family. They’re law-abiding, these are people who just really need a chance for them and their children to find safety, word hard and build a new life.”
Listen to the full interview here: