For Immediate Release
TOUGH TALK MASKS TOSSING THE DOOR OPEN FURTHER — CRITIQUE OF CAPLAN’S NEW IMMIGRATION ACT
Despite her tough talk, new amendments to Canada’s Immigration Act announced April 6 by Citizenship and Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan, “are a fraud and sham,” said Paul Fromm,. Director of the Canada First Immigration Reform Committee (CFIRC). “It’s a callous public relations effort to soften Canadians up for a massive increase in immigration levels,” the immigration critic adds.
“Caplan has recognized Canadian outrage at phony ‘refugees’, boat people line jumpers and invaders, and the influx of criminals and poorly screened people who will be burdens on our social services for decades,” Fromm commented. “She labelled her Immigration and Refugee Protection Act as ‘tough’. It’s about as tough as a gooey donut.”
An Immigration Tidal Wave is the Game Plan
Caplan lets the cat out of the bag early on in her press release. “Closing the back door to those who would abuse the system allows us to ensure that the front door will remain open,” said Minister Caplan, “both to genuine refugees and to the immigrants our country will need to grow and prosper in the years ahead.” A CIC background release entitled “Opening the Door Wider” reveals the real agenda — a massive increase in immigration: It says the amendments seek “to attract the ‘best and the brightest’ to Canada and advance our long-term immigration goal of 1% of the population annually.” This would mean a flood of more than 300,000– or a city the size of Hamilton, Ontario every year.
“In fact,” says Fromm, “Caplan’s real goal may be even higher numbers. In a March 25 speech to the Fourth National Metropolis Conference in Toronto, Caplan cited an OECD report recommending that Canada take in 8.6-million immigrants over the next 20 years. This,” explains Fromm, “would work out to an annual intake of 430,000. Such numbers are nothing less than replacement of present Canadians by a largely dissimilar and alien influx.”
“The minister’s premise is utterly wrong,” says Fromm. “With unemployment well over 7 per cent — twice that of our American neighbour — it’s preposterous to say that immigrants are necessary to growth and prosperity. With few exceptions, they will either take jobs that should go to unemployed Canadians or be heavy users of social services.”
AUDITOR-GENERAL BLASTS IMMIGRATION DEPT.’S PRESENT INEPTITUDE
In a devastating report on Caplan’s department, Auditor-General Denis Desautels pointed out that the department cannot adequately process the current flood — about 183,000 last year — let alone the proposed influx.
Desautels was quoted in the Toronto Sun (April 12, 2000): “”We were disappointed to find many of the same problems that we had encountered back in 1990. It’s highly questionable whether the department has the resources and the capacity to meet the annual immigration levels set by government. A weak immigration service is putting Canadians in danger because it isn’t weeding out applicants presenting criminal, security or health risks. ” Desautels said he was very concerned that, since 1994, fewer than 2 per cent of high risk applicants had been turned down.”
“With a track record like that, Canadians have every right to be sceptical of Caplan’s new-found commitment to toughness against crooks and cheaters,” Fromm warned.
The Auditor-General’s report savages Caplan’s inept department: “He found Canadians are being exposed to unnecessary criminal, health and terrorism risks from immigrants because of the dismal state of immigration admission screening. The report paints a devastating picture of inefficiency, low morale, fraud and bad planning that is making it almost impossible for officials at Citizenship and Immigration Canada to weed out undesirables among the 190,000 new entrants who arrive here each year. Despite spending at least $155 million annually, ‘immigration offices abroad are overtasked, controls to protect health and safety of Canadians are deficient and the department is vulnerable to fraud and abuse,” Desautels said.'” (Toronto Star, April 12, 2000)
HEALTH THREATS OVERLOOKED
“Especially worrisome is Immigration’s poor record in screening out health threats. This is a major concern in the Auditor-general’s report and one largely ignored in Caplan’s new legislation, ” says Fromm.
Desautels found that the department is “using 40-year-old medical tests that only screen for syphilis and tuberculosis despite the emergence of new diseases.” (National Post, April 12, 2000) “The report also blasts the medical screening process, noting new communicable diseases — such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis B and C — have not been added to the mandatory screening list.” (Toronto Sun, April 12, 2000)
OPENING THE DOORS EVEN WIDER
Among the schemes to fling the door open even wider is expanding the “Family Class.” This will be accomplished by: “Broadening the definition of ‘dependent child’ by increasing the age from under 19 to under 22. Opening up adoption provisions in keeping with the principle of the best interests of the child. Modernizing the definition of family class to ensure consistency in accordance with government legislation under consideration — family class will include spouses, common-law and same sex partners.”
“The Liberals remain fanatically tied to destroying the traditional definition of a family,” says Fromm.
The minister proposes to loosen the “Family Class definition even more,” Fromm charges. Other changes include “Exempting sponsored spouses and dependent children from the admission bar related to excessive demand on health or social services. Reducing the age at which Canadian citizens or permanent residents are eligible to sponsor from 19 to 18. Reducing the length of the sponsorship requirement from 10 years to 3 years for spouses and common-law opposite and same sex partners. ”
“Let’s be quite clear what all this means,” says Fromm. “Canadians lose and pay. We’ll be admitting desperately ill spouses and children who’ll be a burden on our welfare and health care systems. The time period a sponsor must support a spouse is a mere three years. We’ll see even more marriages of convenience as a scam to slip into the country. Finally, it’s absurd that the definition of dependent child is expanded to 22, but a ‘child’ of 18 can sponsor more members of the family.”
“We must remember that family class immigrants need have no language or marketable skills. This is one of the worst ways to accomplish the Minister’s purported aim of attracting ‘the best and brightest,'” he says.
“The stated goal of Canada’s immigration policy is to replace us with young foreigners,” Fromm warns. “In fact, the government’s own statistics show that Family Class immigrants are older than the Canadian average,” he explains.
In the Immigration Department’s own document “A Profile of Immigrants from China in Canada: Age Distribution” reveals: “Despite the fact that most immigrants from China are relatively recent arrivals in Canada, the Chinese immigrant population is older, on average, than the overall immigrant and Canadian-born populations. In 1991, 22 per cent of all immigrants from China were aged 65 or over, compared with 18 per cent of all immigrants and 10 per cent of people born in Canada. At the same time, 37 per cent of Chinese immigrants, versus 31 per cent of all immigrants, and 18 per cent of people born in Canada, were aged 45-64. In contrast, only 8 per cent of immigrants from China were under 25, compared with 15 per cent of all immigrants, and 39 per cent of the Canadian-born population.”
EASIER ACCESS FOR “REFUGEES”
“With refugees, we’ll be gathering up entire extended families under one application,” Fromm accuses. The proposed legislation would “process overseas families as a unit, including extended family members of refugees whenever possible,” according to “Opening the Door Wider.”
“We’ll be watering down even further our already anaemic criteria for assessing refugee applicants,” Fromm warns. Caplan proposes “amending the criteria for ‘ability to establish in Canada’ to include social as well as economic factors and extending the period required to ‘establish’ to 3-5 years.”
“Do we really need people who will take five years to get off welfare and learn to fit in?” Fromm asks.
“In many cases only one member of this lot could be considered a genuine refugee in danger of persecution,” he adds.
“Canada will be even swifter in accepting people who have no documentation and may, indeed, be dangerous criminals,” Fromm warns.
Caplan’s legislation proposes “reducing the waiting period from 5 to 3 years for landing in Canada of undocumented refugees who are unable to obtain documents from their listed country of origin because there is no central authority in that country to issue documents.”
“That means we’ll have even less time to monitor these people to determine their bona fides,” Fromm adds.
LOWERING THE BARRIERS FOR INDEPENDENT IMMIGRANTS
“Language is absolutely vital to success in the present high-tech economy,” Fromm points out. “Yet, Caplan proposes ‘increasing the relative weight of having knowledge of an official language but ensuring that language is not a bar to admission.’ Lack of English or French should be an absolute bar to Independent Class immigrants,” he adds. “If someone is serious about coming to Canada, that person should bestir himself to learn English to French,” he adds.
“We’ll see more foreign students pouring into Canada as a backdoor immigration route,” Fromm warns. “Caplan would eliminate the necessity of requiring students to apply and be vetted abroad,” he says. Her legislation proposes “allowing recently graduated foreign students who meet the criteria for economic immigration, have a permanent job offer and have been working in Canada to land from within Canada.”
“Once again, we see the government preferring outsiders to Canadians. Why permit foreign students to take jobs that ought to go to Canadian graduates?” he demands. “Other than to fuel the brain drain. Those are our taxes heading South,” he adds. A Conference Board of Canada report found that the number of skilled workers who have left Canada for the United States jumped from 17,000 in 1986 to 98,000 in 1997.” (Migration News, Vol. 7, No. 1, January, 200
“This new immigration Act will cheapen Canadian residency status even further,” Fromm argues.
The legislation would require that “a person must be physically present in Canada for a cumulative period of 2 years in every 5 working years to retain permanent residence”
“That scarcely seems like a serious commitment to Canada. We will remain a base of convenience for certain high flying people, who will use our social services and education system, but make little commitment or contribution to Canada.”
CRACKDOWN: MORE GLITTER THAN SUBSTANCE
“Even some of the much ballyhooed stricter enforcement provisions are more fancy footwork than punch,” Fromm charges.
In introducing her bill, Caplan said: “The new legislation creates severe penalties — fines of up to $1 million and life in prison — for people smugglers and those caught trafficking in humans.”
“This sounds good,” said Fromm. “However, present legislation allows the prosecution of these snakeheads. Yet, not a single one of the smugglers from last summer has been convicted and there’s little evidence of a serious effort to break their smuggling network that stretches across Canada.” he added.
“I will not mince words — this is a tough bill.” So said Mrs. Caplan as she relieved herself of the 31st cosmetic makeover to Canada’s Immigration Act in 24 years. “So snakeheads will be looking at one-million dollar fines, ” Fromm observed. ” When Mrs. Caplan offered full citizenship to any one of the 600 boatpeople prepared to finger the organized criminals preying upon them, there were no takers. That was when the average fine our cherished courts system levied against smugglers of human beings was $500. Exactly what kind of idiot do you have to be to imagine that massively beefed-up penalties will make ‘victims’ more willing to identify vicious triad gangsters?” Fromm asks.
We will not regain control of our borders until a government with a commitment to putting Canadians first introduced legislation using the ‘notwithstanding’ clause requiring that all refugee or immigration applicants apply and be vetted abroad,” he explains.
“Caplan’s amendments to the Immigration Act are little more than an ill-fitting girdle and corset,” Fromm quips. “They won’t get the obese wreck of a system to fit into the svelte cocktail dress. We need real immigration reform.”
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