Canada tells United Nations it will accept twice as many Afghans: immigration minister

Bill C-41 would let Canadian humanitarian agencies operate in Afghanistan
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Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino says Canada will accept twice as many Afghan refugees as it had previously announced, letting the world know at the United Nations.

“At the UN, Canada announced we will double our humanitarian resettlement commitment from 20,000 to 40,000 Afghan refugees,” tweeted Mendicino. 

“Through our efforts, we will offer a new home for Afghan refugees while upholding democracy and human rights around the world.”

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On the social media platform, the Canadian immigration minister tweeted that Canada’s willingness to accept these refugees demonstrates its capacity to be a global trailblazer in humanitarian resettlement. 

“We were the first country in the world to launch a pathway that focuses on women, girls, LGBTI and targeted minorities,” he noted.

Ottawa Bullish on Immigration and Accepting More Refugees Than Ever

Certainly, Canada is bullish on immigration and wants to open the door even wider to refugees.

 In the 6.5 years that ended in July this year, Canada welcomed 163,580 refugees, with the bulk of them arriving in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. Since 1980, Canada has welcomed roughly 1.1 million refugees.

That open-door policy makes Canada a world leader in the resettlement of refugees, says the United Nations Refugee Agency.

“Most refugees came to Canada with few, if any, financial resources, and often had to learn a new language and adapt to a new culture,” notes the United Nations agency.

“Despite these challenges, the results show that refugees do not simply benefit from the safety Canada gives them. In fact, they embrace the opportunity that Canada provides to build a better life and become important contributors to the country’s economy and cultural diversity.”

Canada’s Largesse to Afghans Likely to Clog Up the Processing of Other Applications, Some Complain

The United Nations appreciates Canada’s willingness to provide safe haven for refugees. But not everyone shares that enthusiasm.

On Twitter, many people trying to gain permanent residence in Canada saw this latest announcement as Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) putting their own applications on hold. 

“You are bringing refugees at the expense of other applications,” alleged one Twitter user. “IRCC didn’t increase its capacity to process files simultaneously. 

“IRCC under your leadership decided to put our lives on hold indefinitely. Our lives have been put on hold since March 2020.”

Another Twitter user urged Mendicino to clear the backlog of applications under spousal and family reunification programs before opening the door to more refugees.

“Clear the backlogs. How many families are getting affected by delays as a result?” he tweeted. “I haven’t seen my family in two years and there are many more like me. Five years in Canada and still waiting for my decision. IRCC just requests documents and doesn’t do anything.”

Law Association Calls for Streamlining and Modernization of Processing of Applications

The current backlog of immigration applications at the IRCC has led to many calls to modernize and streamline the application system.

In July, the immigration section of a national association representing lawyers, judges, notaries and law teachers and students throughout Canada is urging Ottawa to speed up the processing of applications for immigration.

“The pandemic has caused major disruptions in processing immigration applications,” wrote Mark Holthe, chair of the immigration law section of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) to Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino, in late July.

“Immigration and visa officers are working from home and in-person meetings with visa applicants are still being cancelled, leading to a significant backlog of cases,” wrote Holthe.

“Paper applications needed to be scanned and copied into Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s (IRCC) computer system. The antiquated Global Case Management System (GCMS) was not built for these circumstances. This has hamstrung IRCC from efficiently processing applications.”

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