Half Of Foreign Nationals CBSA Considered Security Risks Let In By Canada Immigration Officials

Half Of Foreign Nationals CBSA Considered Security Risks Let In By Canada Immigration Officials
Canada immigration free assessment

An internal audit of the Immigration National Security Screening Program reveals immigration officials in Canada let almost half of the foreign nationals flagged as security risks by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) into the country.

“That’s super concerning. It means that there’s a disconnect between the partner agencies engaged in the processing of foreign nationals seeking entry into Canada. It’s really alarming,” criminologist and former border services officer Kelly Sundberg reportedly told the National Post.

During the five years that ended in 2019, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) ultimately let into Canada 3,314 people out of 7,141 cases given a “non-favourable” recommendation by the screening program for ties to serious offences including war crimes, espionage and terrorism. That’s 46.4 per cent.

The audit notes that 1,887, or 56.9 per cent, of the foreign nationals let into the country despite the security concerns were allowed in because another government department pushed their applications through with public policy exemptions “in the national interest for high-profile foreign nationals who are inadmissible.”

IRCC officials disagreed with the CBSA’s assessment of the security risks of foreign nationals and approved their entry into Canada in only 177 of those cases.

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In that audit of the screening program contains a list of seven recommendations, including a call for a monitoring system to ensure the IRCC is indeed referring all foreign nationals for security screenings that should be checked out. The audit also calls for better interdepartmental training.

As a criminologist, Sundberg says that a determination by the CBSA that a foreign national is a criminal should be taken more seriously.

“When it happens 46 per cent of the time, why the hell even bother having CBSA then?” he asks. “Why did you ask them in the first place if you’re basically flipping a coin?

Border Services Officials Demoralized By Lack Of Respect For Their Recommendations

“This is yet another example of why we need to have serious oversight and constant audit of CBSA and its relationship with other agencies.”

The audit’s findings are a wake-up call, he says.

“This is yet another example of why we need to have serious review of how policing, security and intelligence are undertaken in this country and how to co-ordinate it and make it more efficient and effective,” he reportedly told the National Post.

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With so many of their recommendations ignored or overridden, CBSA officials are getting demoralized and there is concern the integrity of the security screening process is itself being undermined, according to stakeholders who remained unnamed.

The audit also found there were consistently backlogs at the CBSA’s screening division and that it routinely failed to deliver its recommendations within the expected time frames.

Canada immigration free assessment
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Colin Singer
Colin Singer is an international acclaimed Canadian immigration lawyer and founder of immigration.ca featured on Wikipedia. Colin Singer is also founding director of the Canadian Citizenship & Immigration Resource Center (CCIRC) Inc. He served as an Associate Editor of ‘Immigration Law Reporter’, the pre-eminent immigration law publication in Canada. He previously served as an executive member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Quebec and National Immigration Law Sections and is currently a member of the Canadian Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. Colin has twice appeared as an expert witness before Canada’s House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. He is frequently recognized as a recommended authority at national conferences sponsored by government and non-government organizations on matters affecting Canada’s immigration and human resource industries. Since 2009, Colin has been a Governor of the Quebec Bar Foundation a non-profit organization committed to the advancement of the profession, and became a lifetime member in 2018.