Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Admitting To The 'Systemic Abuse' Of Canada's Refugee System Is One Thing. Doing Something About It Is Another.

I was elated to read in the National Post about Canada's current Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's realization that "systemic abuse" may be afoot with our country's refugee system. You can read it for yourself here.

Spike in Canada refugee claims shows 'systemic abuse,' Kenney charges

'An abuse of Canada's generosity'
Steven Edwards, Canwest News Service Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2009


UNITED NATIONS -- Immigration Minister Jason Kenney spoke Tuesday of "wide-scale and almost systematic abuse" of Canada's refugee system after a United Nations report showed a 30% increase in the number of people seeking refugee or asylum status in Canada.

Much of the increase comes from a major rise in the numbers of Mexicans, Haitians and Colombians claiming they'll face persecution if Canada sends them back to their respective countries, the UN says.

That's the typical line. They all say that much like when a car thief is caught breaking in to a car and his excuse is invariably that the car is his but he lost the keys. Sooner or later the story may be true but probability and common sense tells us that more often than not the story is a lie. This, I have come to feel, is the case for many in-land refugee claims.

But the world body also says the United States saw a three per cent drop in the number of people asking for asylum in that country last year.

Overall, the percentage increase for Canada is almost three times the average for 51 countries studied in Asylum Levels and Trends in Industrialized Countries 2008 by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Got that? As Canada experienced a 30% increase in asylum claims the United States experienced a 3% drop. I guess it's because we are more understanding and civil then those red necked and racist Americans, right? Or is it because everyone in the world knows how stupid and gullible we Canadians really are? The same UN study notes that for Canada "the percentage increase...is almost three times the average for 51 countries". Why is that? Do these other 51 countries know something we don't? Why the remarkable discrepancy? As I said before, everyone in the world knows that if you're going to make a refugee claim Canada is the place to do it.
One difference between the U.S. and Canada is that the States operates a detention system in which applicants can be effectively jailed pending review of their cases, while applicants in Canada are often eligible to apply for a temporary work permit.

"It discourages people from making a claim if they have to stay in jail,"
said David Matas, a refugee lawyer in Winnipeg.

I support the detention of refugees until their identities can be verified and their cases heard and if you truly are fleeing for your life then such a hassle would be worth it in the long run. That being said, the process should be quick. For fake refugees this would be considered an inconvenience coupled with a heightened prospect of detection followed by assured deportation and thus a deterrent. Right now many "refugees" disappear and don't show up for their hearings.
"Canada has witnessed a steady increase in new asylum seekers in the past years, and in 2008 was the second largest recipient of applications," says the report's commentary. "On average, every 10th application in the industrialized world was made in Canada."

[...]

The board's case-approval rate for the past several years has varied between 42% and 46%, but rejected applicants have a slew appeals and other options available to them.

"People . . . whose initial claims are rejected are able to stay in Canada, sometimes for several years, making serial appeals," Mr. Kenney said. "In some cases, it would seem their objective is to stay long enough that they can make a compelling case that it would be uncompassionate for them to be deported."


[...]

"That would suggest wide scale and almost systematic abuse," Kenney said.

[...]

He spoke of a "broad political consensus" that Canada's inland refugee system was "broken."

Critics of Canada's refugee determination system have been saying that for decades going as far back as 1985 with the passing of the Singh decision claiming correctly, as it turns out, that the refugee system would be vulnerable to abuse. If Jason Kenney wants to look for solutions to the problem he should revisit the Singh decision.

It's nice to see Mr. Kenney is waking up to this problem. Now if he will only admit that Canada accepts too many immigrants and reduce the country's intake. Will it happen or is that wishful thinking?

Be sure to visit the National Post and read the comments.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Should Immigrants Who Do Not Speak English Or French Well Enough Be Denied Citizenship? Jason Kenney Thinks So.

And so do I.

Immigrants need French or English, Kenney says

Mar 21, 2009 04:30 AM
THE CANADIAN PRESS


CALGARY – Immigrants who can't speak English or French well enough should be denied citizenship, says the federal immigration minister.

In a speech to an immigration conference yesterday in Calgary, Jason Kenney said Canada needs to improve its efforts to integrate newcomers and "one area that we can ask immigrants in the country to make a greater effort (in) is that of language."

Kenney later told reporters that immigration needs an overhaul and an effort must be made to ensure immigrants and those who want to become citizens speak French or English competently. He said the requirement exists but isn't being enforced enough.

Kenney worries that granting citizenship without guaranteeing language skills puts a new Canadian at an economic and social disadvantage. And he wants to know how some people who can't speak either of Canada's official languages got through the system.

Source.

He's right. As critics have pointed out language proficiency in either of Canada's official languages is key for an immigrant's successful economic integration. I don't even know why this should even be an issue.

To add, it is only respectful to learn the language of the people you chose to live with.

This statement by Jason Kenney and his acknowledgment that the immigration system needs an overhaul makes me think that there may be hope with the minister after all. After his refusal to lower immigration targets and the number of temporary foreign workers in the wake of an economic melt down, I passed him off as another careerist politician who cares more about his party's chances with ethnic voters than doing what is right for the country.

I'm hoping he decreases immigration targets but I'm not holing my breath. So many tax dollars are wasted on a bloated and out of control immigration system the government can save a lot of money if it does especially in a time when it is running a deficit.

When Canada's Banks Look At Immigrants All They See Is Money.

Canada's banks favour high immigration numbers because they see immigrants as potential clients they can siphon money from in the form of service fees, mortgages, and now remittances. It doesn't matter if these immigrants are unemployed or underemployed to the banks. Service fees are service fees and if you can get water from a stone expect the banks to be there with their buckets in tow. You can read the following story in full here at the Toronto Star.

Banks cash in as immigrants wire home

Competition heats up for newcomers' transfer fees as foreign remittances increase despite recession

Mar 21, 2009 04:30 AM
Rita Trichur
BUSINESS REPORTER


Their determination has been a boon for Canada's banks. Banks, which charge foreign exchange and service fees for such transfers, say remittances are booming despite the slumping economy; some report double-digit growth. According to Statistics Canada, Canada's market for remittances is worth up to an estimated $2 billion a year.

Banks are offering new products to try to poach clients from the mom-and-pop shops, travel agents and global money transfer services that dominate this former niche industry. Many banks now consider remittances an "anchor product."

"The remittance business is going to continue to be a big business for banks in Canada (that) have the capability to do this,"
said Tracy Redies, executive vice-president of personal financial services and wealth management at HSBC Bank Canada.

I've written about remittances before. You can read it here. Simply put the removal of about (CDN)$2 billion dollars from Canada's economy should be considered a cost. This is money that could have been invested in Canada in the purchase of goods and services which in turn fuels the economy. Instead it is going overseas to be invested in competing economies.

I don't blame them for doing this. It is perfectly understandable. But it is a loss nonetheless and added to the amount of tax dollars spent to fund the services used by immigrants, including health care, the immigration system may be costing Canadians more than it is worth. In other words it is a losing investment.

As for the banks, all they see in immigrants is money and more immigrants means more money. They are one of the few financial beneficiaries of a mass immigration policy where the brunt of the costs are socialized and borne by the average Canadian. This is why the Royal Bank of Canada once stated that Ottawa should increase the immigration intake to 400,000 a year. I doubt the bank's position has changed.

In Search For A Better Life New Canadians Bring Big City Problems To Suburbs.

The story below, found here in the Toronto Star, wouldn't be an issue if Canada didn't bring in so many immigrants. Canada shouldn't be importing immigrants if they are destined to be unemployed and living below the poverty line. Immigrants should at least be on equal footing with Canadians if not outperforming them. The sad reality is that the former is more too common than it should be which should make one think that perhaps the jobs aren't really there, at least not the ones needed to support the life described in the story below. The sad reality is that the example family given in the story is more the exception than the rule nowadays.

New Canadians flock to better life in suburbs

Immigrants in 905 more likely to be educated, own home, study finds
Mar 20, 2009 04:30 AM
Nicholas Keung
Lesley Ciarula Taylor
Immigration Reporters


Recent immigrants in smaller suburban communities are faring better than those setting roots in big cities when it comes to jobs, incomes and homeownership, says a new study that measures newcomers' life quality across Canada.

The report shows immigrants to the Greater Toronto Area are increasingly choosing the 905 regions as their destination over Toronto. Even those initially settling in the city are then moving on to the suburbs.

I must point out that the story is misleading. When I read the headline I was assuming they meant smaller communities like Orangeville, ON or Brantford, ON. That is not the case.

Jyoti Shukla, her lawyer husband, Kamen, and their 12-year-old daughter, Vishwa, were drawn to Mississauga to live their suburban dream – and for its relatively lower costs of living when the family moved here from India in 2004.

For starters I can't imagine law firms were tripping over themselves to hire an Indian trained lawyer. I don't know why Canada allows the immigration of foreign trained lawyers when Canadian schools are producing more legal professionals then needed, as is suggested by an articling shortage and the refusal by the government to allow the founding of more law schools.

That aside I can assure you that Missaussauga is not a small community. Compared to Toronto, or maybe New York city, then perhaps it is but boasting a population of over 700,000 individuals it is Canada's sixth most populous municipality. The city shares a border with Toronto, where one city bleeds into the other, and if you don't know where the city limits are you wouldn't know if you were in Missaussauga or not if you were not paying attention.

The suburbanization trends, partially a result of Ottawa's push to spread immigrants evenly across the country, have led to a lose-lose situation for large and small communities alike: While big cities are finding it harder to meet their labour needs with the exodus of well-educated and highly skilled immigrants, their smaller counterparts struggle to accommodate the influx.

This is another deceptive paragraph. What labour market needs are they talking about? I'm sure the people at NotCanada.com's forum would like to know. These kinds of contestable statements are thrown around unchallenged to create the impression that a labour market crisis exists mostly to convince Canadians to accept an immigration system they are growing weary of.

The article concentrates on the loss of immigrant skilled labour that's continuously being made superfluous anyway because of mass immigration, and therefore no real loss. But smaller communities outside of Canada's big cities should brace themselves for Canada's immigration over population problem as rapid population growth spills over into their neighbourhoods and with them the attendant ills.

The federation, which represents 1,775 communities covering 90 per cent of the population, said municipalities need federal funding to provide culturally sensitive services, such as translating garbage pickup schedules, more affordable housing, recreational programs, public health services and new ways to deliver services to newcomers.

According to the study:

The proportion of recent immigrants living off social assistance in big cities was more than twice the rest of Canada.

• While the percentage of unemployed immigrants outnumbered non-immigrants in big cities, the gap was significantly smaller in the suburbs.

The proportion of recent immigrants with university degrees was twice as high as that of Canadians, yet their unemployment rate was four times greater.

Recent immigrants earned about 60 per cent of what native-born Canadians did in 2001, which dropped further to 51 per cent by 2006. The widest income gaps were generally found in larger municipalities.

Forty-three per cent of newcomer families lived under Statistics Canada's low-income cut-off, three times the proportion among all Canadian households.

• Recent immigrants in small communities were more likely to own homes than their counterparts in the city.

Evelyn Myrie, director of the Peel Newcomer Strategy Group, said while newcomers in smaller communities may fare better than those in big cities, they still have settlement needs, such as language upgrading and employment counselling, to be met. Issues such as poverty and homelessness are also slowly emerging in the suburbs, too, she added.

"Some smaller communities like Caledon just don't have the resources in place to serve those needs," said Myrie, whose group was formed four years ago by the United Way of Peel to involve community players in immigration and settlement planning.

Like I said, it wouldn't be a problem if Canada didn't accept too many immigrants but who wants to hear that?

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Welcome To Canada Immigration Farce (yes immigrants, you've been had).

Here is a site I wish to bring to your attention. It's called Canada Immigration Farce and I'm adding it to my list. Like NotCanada.com it was established by immigrants for immigrants to inform them of the hazards and pit falls awaiting those who immigrate to Canada. The following is from their site:

Canada is abusing its professionally skilled immigrants and is practicing economic apartheid against them. Don't believe it? Hear our story and you may just want to question your decision to come to this country. We are two professionally skilled immigrants who were misled by Canada, via its High Commission in London, England into believing that our education, skills and experience was recognized in Canada and that we would readily acquire decent jobs within our field of expertise.

[...]

For the last 10 years we have been unemployed or severely underemployed, and we have experienced severe hardship, mental and physical stress, and financial ruin. It took 8 years of struggle and fighting for justice, for us to barely get back into our fields, however our suffering has not ended. We are nowhere close to working at the level we were in England. We have lost everything: today we are not homeowners, and we still don't know what our long term future will be, since this unstable country bashes you down two steps for every step up you try and take.

The bad faith policy that brought us to Canada and the long-term unemployment we suffered as a result, has created a mountain of debt which we will never be able to overcome for years. Well unlike a lot of immigrants we fought back and sued the government. But guess what? There is no real justice in this country, only the illusion of justice being done.

We were forced into bankruptcy and kept in bankruptcy so that our legal efforts to seek justice can be stymied. This was done to prevent a floodgate of future claims, and this has further sealed our belief that we will be in hardship for the rest of our lives. Canada has dealt with this case in the same way it has dealt with the land claims of its Aboriginal peoples. Anger, denial and delay, against the victims. We ironically find ourselves going to the same remedy that First Nations people in Canada have had to resort to: the United Nations.

The authors of the site are trying to sue the Canadian government accusing it of fraud which resulted in their hardships here. I'm certain their story is familiar to many immigrants and I hope they win their suit. Perhaps it will wake the government up to the Gordian knot that is the immigration system. But it looks bleak. Instead of having to deal with the very real and horrific consequences of its immigration system the authors of Canada Immigration Farce feel their suit is being stymied by the government to prevent a flood of future claims. And the Canadian government loves immigrants? Doesn't look like it at least not until election time.

What both sites, and my blog here, want to tell all immigrants is that you've been lied to or are being lied to. And if you are an immigrant investigating a move to Canada then consider yourself warned. If you still chose to immigrate to Canada then any hardship you encounter is your fault. The horror stories are many, backed up by data that time and time again show that immigrants face higher unemployment, greater underemployment, and poverty. Sadly, this is all too casually explained away as a problem of systemic discrimination as if this will make those non-existent jobs that immigrants expected to do in Canada appear out of thin air. Doing so doesn't address the real problem that Canada's immigration system is a mess that more often than not hurts immigrants instead of helping them.

Often coxed by slick web sites run by immigration law firms, consultants, and even the Canadian government many immigrants have been duped into coming to Canada to bring immigration lawyers and consultants work and hopefully deliver their vote for a particular political party. For the sake of their careers I advise immigrants to do their homework before coming to Canada.

The main problem with Canada's immigration system is that it accepts too many immigrants. Such high numbers hurts immigrants especially those who just arrived who end up competing for jobs with the next wave of immigrants. Unfortunately, the current Conservative government has little intention in bringing down the immigration targets. I guess a festering and growing immigrant underclass is all part of the mutlicultural mosaic.

As a post script I wish to say I'm also adding an Australian blog called Eye On Immigration.

Standing On Guard For Thee: The Questionable Acceptance Rates Of Former IRB Member Khaled Mouammar.

Khaled Mouammar has been in the news lately because of his spat with Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. He called Mr. Kenney a "whore" prompting the Minister to threaten funding cuts to the Canadian Arab Federation (CAF) of which Mr. Mouammar is current president. I don't care to get into that.

What has come to light, thanks to the National Post, is a peek into the behaviour of a former Immigration and Refugee board member and what appears to be a case of "the fox in charge of the hen house." IRB members decide who is and who is not a refugee or, to put it more accurately, who is telling the truth and who is lying. Since there is no science involved in this process a lot of these decisions are based on politics, gut feeling, naive compassion fueled by ignorance, and in Mr. Mouammar's case pure ethnic bias and favourtism. You can read the whole article here.

Ottawa urged to review immigration board cases

Arab group's chief accepted 100% of refugees from Middle East
John Ivison, National Post Published: Saturday, March 07, 2009


Mr. Mouammar, an outspoken supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah, recorded an acceptance rate of 100% when it came to refugees from North Africa and the Middle East during his time with the IRB between 1995 and 2005, according to statistics obtained by the National Post. Although cases from the Middle East represented only a tiny fraction of his overall caseload, the 68-year-old orthodox Christian, who was born in Palestine, also accepted each claim he heard against Israel during the period, while the rest of the IRB accepted just 10% of Israel claims.

"I would like to see some close scrutiny of who this fellow accepted because his numbers are off the radar screen, even in comparison to the generally questionable record of the IRB. Obviously no one was monitoring his performance because he was there for 10 years," said Martin Collacott, a former diplomat who follows immigration and refugee issues for the Fraser Institute.

[...]

In his first few years with the IRB, the norm was for two or three members to sit on a panel and hear refugee cases. In those years, Mr. Mouammar heard 912 cases, recording an acceptance rate of 50%, compared to an IRB average of 30%.

[...]

After the IRB streamlined the hearing process to one member, Mr. Mouammar's acceptance rate rose dramatically. Of the 1,092 cases he heard on his own, he accepted 88%, compared to a 49% average for the rest of the IRB. When it came to cases from Algeria, Iraq, Israel, Morocco and Tunisia, that number rose to 100%.

"My conclusion is that, statistically, you definitely wanted him in the room with you if you were from Algeria or Iraq, or if you were making a claim against Israel," said immigration policy analyst and lawyer Richard Kurland.

Mr. Collacott noted that Canada accepts three times as many refugees as most other countries.

I don't know what was going on in Mr. Mouammar's head nor do I know the details of the cases he heard so I cannot comment with much certainty. But the numbers, if they are accurate, do tell a tale.

It appears Khaled Mouammar, an Arab immigrant from Palestine, let his politics against Israel and his racial preference for Arabs cloud his judgment and this is concerning. Can we truly have an objective refugee determination system when people like Khaled Moummar are the ones making the decisions? Who are we to assume that racial or ethnic preference does not play a factor in the decisions made by IRB members or driving the arguments of mass-immigration proponents from ethnic minority groups? In Khaled Moummar's case it seems he was intent on bringing more Arabs, more people of his shared ethnicity into Canada. Were the white majority of Canada to demand preferential consideration for white immigrants it would immediately be deemed racist. Is it also racist then when members of Canada's visible minority groups, including immigrant and visible minority MPs in Ottawa, demand the steady and increasing importation of people from their home and ancestral countries by increasing immigration targets?

I wonder how many Khaled Mouammar's are sitting on the IRB right now, giving preference to those of shared racial or ethnic heritage. It would be interesting to see an in depth investigation of all the refugee decisions made by members of the IRB and if it reveals a pattern like that of Mr. Mouammar's. It may very well assuage my fears and reassure me the Mr. Mouammar is an anomaly but right now I doubt that very much.

Of greater concern is that it shows how the IRB weakens Canada's sovereignty. Immigration is a sovereignty issue because immigration controls the influx of non citizens into the country and it gives us the power to decide who can stay and who cannot. If we lost control of that power then we have lost control of our borders and our national sovereignty. If immigrants with agendas are in positions to weaken Canada's ability to control its borders and do so by their actions are they truly standing on guard for Canada and doing what is best for the country? Or are they driven by ethnic and/or racial allegiances that compel them to act in a way that strengthens their respective ethnic communities at the expense of the host majority?

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Lowering The Numbers: NumbersUSA And The Inadequacies, Failures, and Consequences of America's (and Canada's) Immigration System.

A reader brought this video to my attention a while back. It is very good and the presentation was conducted by an American immigration reform group that calls itself NumbersUSA. Our goal of lower immigration targets for our respective countries is the same and so I've added them to my links.

The facts, figures, and arguments presented in the video relate specifically to the United States but much of it can be applied to Canada as well since Canada accepts more immigrants per capita than the United States does with calls for increasing the numbers even higher.

Topics Include:
The inadequacy of the immigration system as a humanitarian program; immigration and the erosion of the middle class and the rollback of economic gains made by African Americans; and immigration and the environment.

Good Read: 'The Brain Drain'.

The following was taken from an article written by Margret Kopala and published in the Ottawa Citizen on April 12, 2008. You can read the whole piece here on her website.

She doesn't touch on any new ground that for those who follow the immigration debate haven't already heard but it still needs repeating because most Canadians are intentionally left in the dark about the realities of the immigration system. And so, the more people that speak out the chances are that the voices of opposition will be heard by more and more people and hopefully spread amongst the wider population. Canada's immigration system is a wreck and Canadians need to be informed about it.

For the sake of disseminating information here are some quotes with emphasis being mine:

Accordingly, his [Herbert Grubel] paper, “Immigration and the Welfare State in Canada: Growing Conflicts, Constructive Solutions” and published by the Fraser Institute in 2005, estimates a cost to Canadian taxpayers of over $18 billion for immigrants who arrived between 1990 and 2002.

And this as well:
In 2002, 23.3% of all Canadian immigrants were principal applicants, that is skilled workers who acquired sufficient points for language, skills, etc., under Canada’s selection criteria to gain admission to Canada while their spouses and dependents, who are allowed automatic entry, comprised a further 30.5%. Together, at 53.5% of total immigrants, they made up the bulk of Canada’s Economic Immigrants.

Family Class Immigrants, at 28.5% of the total in 2002, are the other dominant set. Consisting of parents and grandparents (9.8%) and ‘immediate’ family members (18.7%), these immigrants must be sponsored. Like parents and grandparents, the myriad cousins, uncles, in-laws, sisters and fiances are then able to sponsor other ‘immediate’ family members, leading to a phenomenon known as ‘chain’ migration - that is, an ad infinitum continuum of family links which may be far removed from the principal applicant who started the chain.

In other words, Family Class immigrants meet no selection criteria. This means they often arrive with no language or job skills and a commensurately diminished capacity for paying taxes and social integration.

Take note that in 2002 as a percentage Canada accepted more Family Class Immigrants into the country as landed immigrants (at 28.5%) than principal applicants who were accepted based on pertinent job and language skills (at 23.3%). What this means is that Canada brought in more people with no language or job skills than people who did. If Canada is dependent on immigration to meet its labour market needs, why is Canada bringing in more people who have no job skills than people who do? If you accept the fact that immigration is about votes then it all makes sense. It is by no coincidence (it is by design actually) that an immigrant can get citizenship in as little as three years and Canadian elections typically are held every four to five years.

Despite similar economic conditions during the same period, Australian immigrants fared better than Canada’s. Migrants there must fulfill a more stringent set of skills, credentials and language requirements. Australia also denies entrants social benefits for two years and admits a higher proportion of work-age immigrants. Parents of principal applicants, for instance, may enter only if the majority of their independently qualified children already reside in Australia.

It is self serving of Canada to selectively use Australia as an example to improve the immigration system when it comes to admitting more foreign students into the country as described in this article yet ignores Australia's example in others areas. As explained above Australia employs a more stringent set of criteria for language and job skills. Australia will not let any accredited professional immigrant land unless he or she meets Australian standards. And most importantly Australia accepts fewer immigrants. Why doesn't Canada also follow Australia's lead in these areas when Australia has shown that it produces a more successful immigration system?