Canada today faces a serious challenge in handling the influx of asylum-seekers who arrive in the country. Since January 2017, 30,000 people crossed the border at unofficial points and also claimed asylum status. 67 percent Canadians, as per a recent poll believe it to be a major crisis.
There is more number of refugee claims compared to the previous year. Municipalities struggle to provide housing to them. Quebec has appealed to the federal government to provide some support. In Ontario, there are refugees in university dormitories. Additionally there are several logistical challenges also.
Canada has few options to control the applicants seeking asylum. Stepping the foot on Canadian soil a person can claim asylum. Furthermore, extending the Safe Third Country Agreement to the border cannot happen till there is an agreement with the Americans.
Managing new arrivals
Their influx is manageable and their numbers in Canada is less compared to Europe. It received more than one million migrants in 2015, but declined to 56,000 in 2018. After the public pressure, the EU has a plan to establish processing centers for the asylum claim.
Likewise Canada can also accommodate asylum seekers with careful and long-term planning. Ahmed Hussen Minister of Immigration and Refugees has promised $50 million to the provinces as help to tackle the issue of housing. Moreover, the government plans to accelerate processing at the unofficial border crossings and also hire additional staff to cover the backlog.
There must also be clear as well as consistent messaging regarding Canadian immigration policies overseas. There must be an emphasis that the application is not a guarantee.
As per the Immigration and Refugee Board Canada, only 47 percent refugee claims were finalized and accepted for the persons who entered from January 2017 to March 2018. All the applications for asylum are processed meticulously and many are rejected.
The government works at various levels to address the problems associated with migrants’ influx. Any decision regarding the justification of asylum should be left to courts, and there must be no say of the public opinion in this matter. The Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has sent a rightful and welcoming message to refugees and Canada chooses to honor it.
Refugees aiming to reach Canada should be a matter of pride. The American dream is gradually coming to an end, and there are many asylum-seekers coming from the U.S. into Canada. Today U.S. has abdicated the commitment made to vulnerable people, and Canada is taking some positive steps.
The enormous challenge of accommodation cannot be understated. The logistical problems here cannot obfuscate the moral responsibility of help people facing danger.
Canada recognizes the rights and claims of refugees as declared by the 1951 Refugee Convention. Moreover, Canada gives a warm reception, to newcomers, and this is a humanitarian cause because several persons suffer and face great trauma. This fact alone must be a source of pride for Canada.