OTTAWA, Aug. 25, 2017 /CNW/ - The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, issued the following statement:
Today, federal Member of Parliament for Bourassa Emmanuel Dubourg, as a member of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force of Irregular Migration, wrapped up a series of outreach activities with the Haitian community in Miami, Florida.
This is part of Canada's effort to counter false information with facts and promote a better understanding of Canada's asylum system and the risks associated with outside official border crossings. Entering Canada in this manner is against the law.
Canada is an open and welcoming country. However, people must enter Canada using the proper channels.
Social media messages on WhatsApp and other channels suggest that Canada gives asylum seekers a free pass into Canada. This simply is not true. It is not a message from the Government of Canada. Strict processes are in place for all those seeking refugee protection, regardless of how they enter Canada.
With local elected officials, community leaders, local and national media, MP Dubourg explored new ways to dispel the myths circulating about Canada's immigration laws and inform Miami's Haitian diaspora – 300,000 strong – about the significant risks facing those entering Canada through irregular channels.
MP Dubourg was first briefed by Canada's Counsul General in Miami, Susan Harper, where he was given a lay of the land of the community.
He then met City Clerk Alix Desulme, himself of Haitian descent, the first Black American to serve in this capacity for the City of North Miami.
MP Dubourg also highlighted Canada and Haiti's strong bilateral relationship with Haiti's Counsul General, Thomas Gandy. Canada and Haiti have developed a close relationship, with, shared language and numerous people-to-people ties uniting the two countries.
He also travelled to the Notre Dame Catholic Church in the historical neighbourhood of Little Haiti to inform influential members of the community about Canada's strong rules-based immigration system.
MP Dubourg concluded the day with a series of interviews with Haitian, Canadian and U.S.-based media where he had the opportunity to speak directly to this tight-knit community.
He reinforced the message that the Government of Canada discourages people from entering Canada outside of designated ports of entry as it can be dangerous and is a violation of our laws.
MP Dubourg also stressed that under the law, anyone claiming asylum in Canada has the right to due process. However, there are no guarantees that an asylum seeker will be allowed to stay in Canada at the end of this process. For example, a significant portion of all asylum claims made by Haitian nationals in 2016 were rejected, and the claimants were obligated to leave Canada.
As well, he noted that asylum seekers crossing the border into Canada from the U.S. who are under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) may think that this status applies in Canada. The TPS on the U.S. does not apply in Canada.
SOURCE Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Renseignements: (media only) Hursh Jaswal, Minister's Office, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 613-954-1064; Media Relations, Communications Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 613-952-1650, IRCC.COMMMediaRelations-RelationsmediasCOMM.IRCC@cic.gc.ca