OTTAWA, May 31, 2018 /CNW/ - In a continuing effort to address the influx of irregular migrants between ports of entry, members of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration met yesterday to discuss actions taken and progress achieved since the last meeting on April 18, and to reaffirm the commitment to continuing the active collaboration moving forward.
Federal Minister of Transport and Task Force Chair, Marc Garneau, opened the meeting by thanking members for their hard work over the last month to advance coordinated measures to help manage the continuing issue of irregular migration, including collaboration with the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and outreach in the United States (U.S.).
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Ahmed Hussen, highlighted the active and productive dialogue among senior federal and provincial officials needed to maintain progress on collective efforts. The federal government is looking at options for a transit centre. A decision on where the centre will be located is expected soon.
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, reported that Canadian officials continue to engage with U.S. counterparts on matters relating to irregular migration, including sharing information, and discussing joint approaches to addressing flows of migrants crossing the border. Minister Goodale met with Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, to discuss this issue, among others, on the margins of the G7 Security Ministerial meeting in Toronto.
Minister Hussen updated members on his trip this month to Nigeria. He met with the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, who agreed to cooperate with Canada on the deterrence message and on issuing travel documents for Nigerian nationals who are set to be removed from Canada. The Minister noted that he had one-on-one meetings with the Ambassadors of the United Kingdom and the U.S., which resulted in an agreement to continue to share information, particularly with the U.S., to make sure the U.S. visa system is not abused.
On May 25, Minister Hussen met with Montréal Mayor Valérie Plante to discuss the national operations plan and how the federal government is engaging directly with communities like Montréal that are affected by irregular migration.
While in Montréal, Minister Hussen also addressed the Montreal Council of Foreign Relations. He informed them of recent changes to the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada's scheduling approach. This means dedicated staff processing irregular asylum claims exclusively and cases finalized within 12 months.
Minister Hussen is scheduled to meet with Secretary Nielsen in the coming weeks to discuss Canada's concerns regarding irregular migration across the Canada-U.S border, and the ways in which both countries need to work together to address the issue, including modernization of the Safe Third Country Agreement.
Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada and Global Affairs Canada continue to collaborate on targeted outreach efforts in the U.S and domestically to clarify misinformation among potential migrants and ensure they understand Canadian immigration laws.
Minister Hussen, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Amarjeet Sohi and Members of Parliament Dan Vandal and Emmanuel Dubourg recently held roundtable discussions on irregular migration with Nigerian and Haitian community leaders and organizations in Winnipeg, Montréal, Toronto, and Edmonton. These meetings provided an opportunity to correct any misinformation about Canada's immigration system, as well as to collect insights from community leaders to assist outreach efforts.
Minister Garneau concluded the meeting by recognizing the commitment of members to advance efforts to manage the situation and by encouraging all members to pursue collective efforts as we enter the summer months.
"We have come a long way since the issue of irregular migration surfaced last summer. We have built on the lessons we collectively learned in 2017, which have helped us to see the importance of ongoing collaboration and engagement, refine our contingency plans, and enhance our operational readiness across Canada."
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Chair of the Ad Hoc Intergovernmental Task Force on Irregular Migration
"The Government of Canada has a robust operational plan to, first and foremost, ensure the safety and security of Canadians while managing the entry of asylum seekers at all key border points. All areas of the federal government are working together to ensure that provincial and municipal partners are ready to handle flows of irregular arrivals that may peak this summer. Our operational improvements have allowed us to find more efficient and cost-effective ways to process irregular arrivals, while alleviating pressure at points of entry."
The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
- From January to May 22, 2018, 8,670 persons were intercepted by the RCMP at the Lacolle border.
- In April 2018 there were, on average, 85 asylum claims per day; in May 2018, it is, on average, 62 per day.
- In total, 12,801 work permits were issued to asylum claimants in Quebec since April 1, 2017.
The province of Ontario is not a party to this communiqué as it is in an election period.
SOURCE Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
For further information: For questions related to irregular migration: Media Relations, Communications Branch, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, 613-952-1650, [email protected]; For questions related to the Task Force: Delphine Denis, Press Secretary, Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, Ottawa613-991-0700, [email protected]