New Canadian Media

By: Amanda Connolly in Ottawa

Immigration lawyers in Canada are warning about risks caused by the spread of misinformation as the Trump administration rolls back a U.S. government program that shielded illegal immigrants brought to the United States as minors from deportation.

U.S. President Donald Trump formally announced on Tuesday the end of an Obama-era program that protected almost a million young people brought illegally into the country by their parents and granted them renewable two-year work permits, which will now begin to expire in early 2018.

While immigration lawyers said many clients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program — widely known as “dreamers” — could be prime candidates for legal immigration to Canada, the challenge will be in making sure those looking to move are not getting faulty information about Canada’s immigration rules from unscrupulous immigration advisers or false reports. That’s what happened with thousands of Haitians earlier this summer when Trump threatened to rescind a program that lets those displaced by the earthquake in Haiti seven years ago live temporarily in the United States.

“These people are North American trained or brought up, so they have the skills to quickly adapt to the Canadian labour market or integrate into the post-secondary schooling system so there may in fact be some options for them,” said Betsy Kane, one of Canada’s top immigration lawyers and a partner at Capelle Kane.

“The only issue is if they are going to get misinformation from people trying to capitalize on their vulnerability and get sucked into a situation like the Haitians did, relying on potentially false information that would lure them into coming to make the wrong type of application to Canada.”

Roughly 7,000 asylum seekers, most of them Haitians from the U.S., have crossed into Canada since July. Some critics have accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of not doing enough to prevent the surge; some have even accused him of being partly to blame for it.

A January tweet in which critics said the prime minister implied that Canada would welcome just about anyone — legal migrant or not — has increasingly come under fire, prompting the government into damage control mode in recent months.

Two weeks ago, Trudeau walked that welcome back in a series of tweets cautioning that while Canada is an open and diverse society, it also has immigration laws that must be obeyed.

Liberal MP and Whip Pablo Rodriguez also announced Wednesday he is heading to Los Angeles on Friday on a mission similar to that of MP Emmanuel Dubourg last month.

Following a surge of illegal Haitian migrants over the summer, the government sent Dubourg — who is himself of Haitian origin — to Miami to speak with Haitian community leaders and try to counter the flow of misinformation about how Canada’s immigration system works.

The government’s goal was to get a message across loud and clear: Not every refugee claim in Canada succeeds.

Now, Rodriguez is set to carry that same message to the other side of the country in a bid to stem a new wave of Mexican and Central American asylum seekers who are expected to be next to try and make the move north. Those people are in limbo now because of the possible end of temporary protected status for nearly 350,000 Salvadorans and Hondurans in the U.S. — a change that is unrelated to the rescinding of the DACA program but is similar in terms of how those affected might be influenced by misinformation.

Kane said the effort so far to counter the spread of bad information has been committed and social-media focused, which is exactly where it needs to be.

“I think it might be a more sophisticated group that’s not going to rely on WhatsApp or an internal rumours or community rumours as opposed to doing their research,” she said. “These are young people, they’re internet-savvy, and perhaps they’re going to spend a little more time getting the correct information, especially with all the social media that’s out there, because they’re all on social media. They’re young people, so that’s where they’re looking for information and CIC has been targeting social media.”

Many of those living in the U.S. under the DACA program are highly-educated and have skills that would make them prime applicants for the Express Entry system, Canada’s immigration scheme for skilled workers.

The question is whether those who want to use that route, or other legal options like applying for international student visas, will even be able to do so given the system overload caused by the influx of Haitians.

“The system is now overwhelmed,” said Julie Taub, an Ottawa immigration lawyer and former member of the Immigration and Refugee Board. “It’s having an impact on the other applications and it’s creating a lot of resentment for those who are immigrating to Canada legitimately through the proper channels and for those who are legitimate refugee claimants.”

For now, Taub said, those Americans who may face deportation without DACA will be looking for the best way to wait for a reinstatement of the protection — and she expects Trump’s move to rescind the program eventually will be overturned.

“It’s beyond reason that he has taken this measure,” she said. “It’s ludicrous and I think it will be overturned.” 


By arrangement with ipolitics.ca. 

Published in Top Stories

Kiev: Ukraine will spend a total of 66 million euros (around $83.5 million) for building a wall along the 2,000 km land border with Russia, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said Wednesday. “This sum will enable us to equip the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation,” Yatsenyuk said in a cabinet meeting. Emphasising that regaining control of the frontier with Russia is a key point of Ukraine’s peace plan, Yatsenyuk said that the government has already allocated $15.3 million for the

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Published in Eastern Europe

by Themrise Khan in Ottawa 

Renowned migration scholar, Graeme Hugo, Australian Research Council (ARC) Professorial Fellow and professor of geography and director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, was in Ottawa recently as a faculty member for the Metropolis Professional Development inaugural training week. Prof. Hugo granted New Canadian Media a short, sit-down interview: 

Q: From your work in population studies, how convinced are you that immigration is the answer to today’s global challenges?

A: It would be wrong to think that migration is the answer to an aging population. But it is part of the answer. Aging is a reality. Between 2010 and 2020, populations between the ages of 18-64 will decline by 20 million in OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries and will increase by 1 billion in low-income countries. But migration is not a solution to aging. Migrants also age. In Australia, 1 in 3 persons is born outside the country. In the 1950's and 60's, there were big waves of migration (to Australia) and studies have shown that they can contribute by increasing productivity of the population. But one of the ways of increasing the productivity of the workforce, is also to increase the age of retirement. So migration should be part of a much larger integrated strategy. The demographic lesson in this is that migration is going to continue to occur, so to try and stop it altogether will not solve any problems.

Q: How is migration different now than it was a few decades ago?

A: Migration is much more complex these days. But it has also become much more democratic and broadly based than it used to be. But the change now is that the difference between countries is widening. There are wider wage differentials for instance, and differences in rights and freedoms which are greater now (between countries) than they use to be.  The 3 Ds as I call it (development, demography and democracy) are more significant now. As I see it, there are three factors that drive migration now: The first is networks. Every time someone moves, there is a movement of social capital. Networks can be very intensive and intimate, as people are now in daily contact with each other. The second is the immigration industry. Legal and illegal migration, lawyers, travel providers, agents, etc., are a major driver of migration. And a third driver is the globalization of the labour market. People are looking across countries for jobs now. This is a function of changes in the global economy. None of these factors are going to go away. There is the belief that so much policy making is predicated that we won't need migration after a while. But this is not true.

Q: What are the best ways to manage migration?

A: Managing migration is not easy. But whoever is talking about it is talking about policy. Countries which earlier had very little migration now have a lot and don’t have the institutions to deal with it. The latest UN data shows that South to South migration (migration between developing countries) is increasing rapidly. The traditional thinking is that the top 5 Western countries are still the top destination for migrants. However, Asia is becoming a major destination. China, which is one of the largest countries to send migrants, is developing its own policy on migration.

Q: How do you think the area of migration studies should be evolving to reflect these new trends?

A: Migration has always been an interdisciplinary area of study, as it should be. What I would like to see (included) in migration studies is people who are involved in the migration process, rather than academics. We should be training people in migration careers. People should not be trained on border controls as police officers.

Q: How can we reflect the perspective of the immigrant into migration policy?

A: Most migration decision making around the world is not evidence based. It is based on bigotry, racism and political advantage. The most effective form of migration management is to base policy on evidence. We need high quality balanced research. The reality is that migration has had both good and bad effects. But right now, countries are only being presented the bad effects of migration. There should be a balanced presentation reflecting both sides.

Most migration decision making around the world is not evidence based. It is based on bigotry, racism and political advantage.

Q: How important is it to discuss environmental change in the migration policy discourse?

A: The overwhelming evidence is that environmental change has been neglected in the past. We are seeing more and more disasters occur. In the past and in the future, most of the mobility environmental change is going to create will be within countries. The numbers of those being affected by climate change and those who will actually move are different. It is rarely a single case of migration and it is flawed to think that one can create a dedicated argument on environmental change for migration.

Q: What can Canada and Australia learn from each other in the immigration context?

A: I honestly think that I am not very close to the immigration bureaucracies in both countries. But both countries are very close. There are many cases like the regional migration programs in Australia that take from Canada. Both countries are in a category by themselves in that they have wholly planned migration policies and there is a high acceptance of immigration. Because these migration programs are so similar, we have  a lot to learn from each other. So there should be more comparative work between the two countries.

This content was developed exclusively for New Canadian Media and can be re-published with appropriate attribution. For syndication rights, please write to publisher@newcanadianmedia.ca

Published in Policy

A woman believed to be from the Windsor area is in jail in Michigan for allegedly trying to smuggle tens of thousands 0f dollars across the border by padding her bra with cash. Moura El-Asmar, 51, will have a bail hearing in Detroit. She was arrested on the American side of the Windsor-Detroit tunnel Sunday [...]

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Poll Question

Do you agree with the new immigration levels for 2017?

Yes - 30.8%
No - 46.2%
Don't know - 23.1%
The voting for this poll has ended on: %05 %b %2016 - %21:%Dec

Featured Quote

The honest truth is there is still reluctance around immigration policy... When we want to talk about immigration and we say we want to bring more immigrants in because it's good for the economy, we still get pushback.

-- Canada's economic development minister Navdeep Bains at a Public Policy Forum economic summit

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