Skip to main content

tv   Canadian Government Officials on Illegal Border Crossings Part 1  CSPAN  August 27, 2018 8:36am-10:31am EDT

8:36 am
income in 1961. 1961. so did president johnson after that. they could just they didn't get to put in place but we did create things like unemployment insurance and those kinds of programs. >> host: mark mills is the author. the book is called "work in the age of robots." thank you. >> guest: thank you. >> c-span, where history unfolded daily. in 1979 c-span was created as a public service by america's cable-television companies and today we continue to bring you unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events in washington, d.c. and around the country. c-span's brought to you by your cable or satellite provider. >> c-span2 is in canada with the canadian house of commons citizenship and immigration committee held a series of
8:37 am
hearings during the summer recess examining the government response to illegal border crossings and are handling of the surge in asylum-seekers. ♪ ♪ >> good morning. welcome to this, the 117th meeting of -- once the meeting begins, the only cameras that will be allowed will be those five the parliament of canada for this meeting. to begin i want to thank the witnesses and ministers for denny but just before we do that, draw to the tension that the committee voted at its last meeting to undertake a study and the studies on the impact of a regular crossing at canada's
8:38 am
southern border, and that steady than is taking place today in three meetings. however, it needs a budget to be approved and are going to look for budget to facilitate these meetings and i would be that we adopt the budget as presented in the amount of $22,600 to undertake the study of a regular crossing at canada's southern border. mr. whalen is moving that. any discussion about that motion? all in favor? any opposed? that is carried. thank you. the second what a business, i want to thank the clerks for very quick turnaround in establishing these three meetings, and the analyst for preparing us. i want draw your attention it is brenda's birthday today so we thank you for coming on his
8:39 am
birthday. we're beginning his first hour with mr. goodell prime minister blair. congratulations mr. blair, and very pleased to see you here today. each of the ministers 17 minutes to address topic followed by questions from the committee members. we begin with mr. goodell. >> thank you very much, mr. chair, committee members, good morning. let me add my words of welcome and congratulations also to minister blair. very, very glad to have him as part of our team and public safety. the border, mr. chair, that we share with the united states is the most successful international boundary in the history of the world. it is a source of great trust very for both our country's, the 400,000 people thousand people and $2.5 billion in trade crossing in both directions every day. and this immense flow of trade and travel happens at the same
8:40 am
time as security, of course remaining our top priority when it comes to border management. from the very beginning of the asylum seeker issue about 18 months ago the government of canada has repeatedly emphasized two primary objectives. make sure all canadian laws are enforced and make sure all of canada's international obligations are honored. we have met those imperatives, mr. chair without fail and we will continue to do so ensuring public safety and national security. [speaking french] >> we can thank while officers and border security officers. they're the ones ones who apply canadian law and ensuring that we meet our international obligations. for then as well as our government, our security is always the highest priority --
8:41 am
>> performing their duties in a professional and highly effective manner during what is been a busy and challenging time. everyone who has seen them in action in the border at places like -- have nothing but praise and admiration for the work, including i am to say the lead of the official opposition who paid a visit to the border some weeks ago. we have repeatedly made clear that entering canada outside an official port of entry is not a free ticket to stay here. there are rules and procedures that must be followed, notably the immigration and refugee protection act and the criminal code. the women and men of the canada border services agency, the department of immigration is citizenship apply those rules and procedures assiduously. him there carefully interviewed
8:42 am
concerts, fingerprinted and photographed, the identity esterified both i graphically and the records are checked against canadian and international databases for in immigration security or criminal concerns. if they present any risk to the safety and security of canadians, they can be detained as necessary. asylum-seekers who are found eligible to pursue an asylum claim in canada are issued a conditional removal order pending the resolution of their claim i the immigration and refugee board. and that is a question of fact that they must prove. if the irb finds that an individual is in genuine need of canada's protection, they receive the protection in keeping with our values and our long-standing international commitments. if the claim is unsuccessful, the claimant becomes an admissible to canada and the
8:43 am
removal process proceeds as quickly as possible in accordance with due process of law. that is the process because can decide on the u.n. refugee convention nearly half a century ago, it is in one of our country's bedrock principles that we do give a fair hearing to people on our soil ask our protection. that principle, mr. chair is embodied in section 133 of the immigration and refugee protection act. at the same time our system must be well-managed and that's what earlier this year a given operation center within my department led kansas contingency planning for a possible surge in irregular migration this summer. in fact, the number of asylum-seekers crossing between ports of entry went down in may and it went down again in june, now to the lowest monthly total so far in 2018.
8:44 am
but thanks to our preparations as well as continued collaboration with provincial and municipal partners, we have a national strategic response plan that is now in effect. this plan is based on lessons learned and best practices from our experiences collectively last year. it enables us to use all the resources, technology come intelligence and partnerships available to address fluctuations in irregular migration. it is flexible and nimble and allows for quick responses when necessary including increases and decreases in capacity, based on need. these measures are bolstered by the additional funding that was provided in budget of 2018, with enough public safety prefer that includes $49 million, $10 million for the rcmp and $2 million. on top of that there are of course regular communications u.s. authorities.
8:45 am
i race is not of irregular migration, for example, at the g7 security ministers meeting in toronto in april were american officials undertook to strengthen efforts on the part to prevent the abuse of u.s. travel documents, and they have, in fact, done that. all of this taken together these ensuring effective responsible management of the situation at our border. and i will conclude with this, mr. chair. irregular migration is an issue that countries around the world are dealing with. we should not be surprised that it is affecting canada, also, we should not expect there to be easy, quick solutions to what is a complex global problem. but canadians can be assured that robust security measures are in place, tha the canadian w is being rigorously applied, and that we are living up to our international obligations and to our duties and values as canadians. and now can i invite my
8:46 am
colleague mr. blair. >> thank you very much, minister. thank you very much, mr. chair and good morning committee members. i'm very, very happy to be able to join you this morning in my new role as minister of border security and organized crime reduction. and also to be join by senior officials in the relevant departments. as many of you are aware i am very new to the job but the issues were discussing are not unknown to me, having served in large metropolitan community and having to do with these issues. the challenges posed by irregular rivals and can straddle a number of organizations including as representatives of the table to say, the rcmp, government operations center and, of course, diminishes a public safety canada. i hope that in my new role i will have the opportunity to support our colleagues ministers in making sure that we connect all the dots between all levels of government and stakeholders,
8:47 am
provincial, territorial and municipal and international to ensure that all of our obligations are fulfilled. i also to make sure we are addressing irregular migration is sufficiently and effectively as possible. yesterday i had the opportunity to visit -- it was very clear to me that our front-line law enforcement and border services personnel continue to perform their duties in a professional and highly effective manner. they are managing that difficult situation exceptionally well. ensuring the security of our border and the integrity of our rules-baserules-based immigratie protection system continues to be a top priority for the government of canada. will continue to make the point as minister goodall has already stated loudly and clearly that there is no free ticket to canada. there are rules and procedures that must be followed however will remain committed to enforcing every canadian law we are also committed to honor all of canada's international
8:48 am
obligations. if this committee will knows, one of those obligations is to provide refuge for those who were inching the need of our protection. people seeking asylum in canada are treated with compassion and they are afforded due process under the law. while the number of migrants has dropped significantly in recent months, thanks to increase government efforts, i believe we are well prepared for any further influx tamir rice in the future. we have a national strategic response plan that is in effect based on lessons that have been learned and best practices that have arisen from our collective experiences since 2017. we have also made significant investments of $173.2 million for budget 2018 to support security operations at the canada/u.s. border and the processing of asylum claims. this funding be used to provide short-term processing and security screening supports at our border. it will also help support
8:49 am
decision-making capacity for the immigration and refugee board which in turn will lead to more time removals of those who are found to be without a valid claim. and as the situation at the border evolves will continue to work closely with the provincial counterparts and municipalities to manage any pressures and concerns if this includes looking at all available options and from interim and long-term lodging is both the government of candidate and the provinces have a role to play. and to that end the fed the opportunity to meet with responsible minister in the province of ontario and we're continuing our outreach and close cooperation with provinces and municipalities on this issue. the federal government has been working closely in the past on secondary migration issues such as moving asylum-seekers outside of large metropolitan areas like toronto and montréal. we also remain close engage with their counterparts in u.s. including u.s. customs and border protection officials and in addition the government of canada continues to reach out to
8:50 am
poor groups are headed towards the border largely based on misinformation. these outreach efforts have been successful. for example, last to the reduce the notation asylum-seekers we are now working with u.s. and nigerian governments to make sure canadian rules, laws and border procedures are well understood by any potential asylum-seekers from that country. mr. chair, the government has a plan to manage irregular migration flows. we work closely with our domestic and international partners to ensure the plan is submitted and i look forward to the opportunity to answer your questions. thank you very much. >> thank you both ministers. we now enter around the seven minute questions. welcome to the committee and also it's your sentiments. >> thank you, chipper anchored to the ministers and for being here. mr. blair, congratulations on your appointment. my first question will go to minister goodale. throughout your presentation at the in the comments that follow
8:51 am
from minister blair, the word law was used in a think that's important. the actions taken by the government on this question are not so much a choice for me as they are a response to the responsibilities that law -- and so can you speak about the u.n. convention on refugees of 1951 and what the needs for candida since we are a signatory? the fact i think this is an obligation to get obliges us to respond. >> thank you. the convention dealing with refugees from the united nations was, in fact, adopted by the u.n. a very long time ago in 1951. canada signed on to that convention in the 1960s, and then embodied the principles
8:52 am
that were in the international obligation into our domestic law. i believe that legislation was enacted in the mid-1970s. and it is reflected right to all of the subsequent iterations of the act right up until today. and the current legislation is the immigration and refugee protection act, and there are many sections that are relevant. the key what is section 133. and that section very clearly says that when a person is in canada, regardless of how they got here, if they're in canada and make a claim for asylum, there's an obligation on the part of canada to give them a fair hearing and determine their status. are they or aren't they not in need of canada's protection?
8:53 am
they are found not to need candace protection, in other words, it's not a legitimate claim for asylum, this process not a refugee, then they become inadmissible to canada and they need to be removed from canada. the law provides for that. if they do sustain their claim and convince the immigration refugee board through a process of due process of law that the claim is legitimate, then under the law by virtue of section 133, how they entered the country becomes irrelevant and non-actionable. non-actionable. that's expressly in the law in section 133 of the immigration and refugee protection act, and that is the law as it stands now, as it is stored all through the period since the 1970s. >> thank you very much. does charter terry relevance?
8:54 am
>> the charter embody the principles of due process and fairness and natural justice. and ensuring that people are treated in a humane and compassionately. >> thank you. mr. blair, i know you were in the column yesterday. the opposition is unfortunately in painting a picture of chaos at the border. what did you see yesterday? was it a chaotic situation or what did you find. >> is what i observed is the exact opposite of cancer it was exceptionally orderly and well-planned. i was personally, i've been involved in law enforcement activities for most of my life. i was exceptionally impressed by the first of all the great work of the rcmp at initial contacts with the individual. the processing paperwork was exceptionally well managed and the foresaw that is going to insurance that they are prepared to respond to a search company
8:55 am
change change in the following which has application in the past, but the planning was, in my opinion, exceptional. there was also, in the past i've heard people express concerns about the coordination between various federal organization of departments. what eyewitness yesterday was a seamless process of collaboration and cooperation between the rcmp, cbs a and rcc. it was really a very impressive operation and i think all canadians would be reassured by better understand what exact is taking place and how well they're being served by the organizations responsible. >> thank you very much. i think i want to continue down this line of questioning in order to examine this narrative very false narrative of a chaotic situation that's out of control to the officials. do you have numbers for how canada has looked, how many
8:56 am
asylum claimants canada has received rather in recent years? for example, 2001, it's my understanding that around 80,000 or 45,000 in that in that you are, in fact, injured canada matches well with 2017 at 50,000. those numbers accurate? >> yes. [inaudible] >> sure. >> i can respond in the sense if you look at a 20 year timeframe when there is ebbs and flows through those 20 years big you have high of 44,000 and if you extra in 2001 picky also below in 2013, 10,400. jeff last years number of 50,000 plus. but over all you see the numbers and the unpredictability i think is the point over the 20 years. >> that lines up well with a very recent study published, mr.
8:57 am
chair, by the school of public policy at university of calgary. it says that as result of the fact that candidate in 2001 had 45,000 people enter the country as asylum claimants -- canada. it shows the country has handled largest influxes of asylum seekers in the. it concludes with a quote from a professor, an economics professor at the school of public policy, most countries he says are civilized. they say if you're subject to persecution we will deal with you. i think the numbers don't lie. what they make evident is that it with handle at the have large influxes of asylum-seekers in the past, then we certainly can do so in 2017 as we did in 2018. >> thank you very much. >> thank you, mr. chair. mr. goodale, are you tonight with article 31 of the
8:58 am
convention on refugees? >> if i had it in front of abilities exact with that the ae says. >> i can help you. >> sure. >> when the convention was negotiated, rants actually insist on clarity on that article because it limits its application to persons coming directly from the territory where the light forfeited his threatened. my colleague mentioned 2001 being a you with was a large amount of people entering the country. are you aware of the year the agreement was executed? >> oh, it's about almost 20, 25 years ago. >> it was 2002 and was directly in response. the part of the reason why there able to recover from this was because former level government agreed to apply that interpretation of article 31 and execute the agreement. so my question is to minister blair section 159 of the
8:59 am
immigration refugee protection regulation states that paragraph 101 does not apply to claimant seeks to enter canada at a a location that is not a point of entry. you director officials to examine the possibility of adding a change remove the section of immigration refugee protection regulation, thereby allowing agreement to be enforced along the entire canadian-u.s. border. >> is in response to that it is an issue quite frankly that i've had opportunity to briefly to discuss with officials and they explained the impact of that, which would be very problematic in many ways. it's the nature of the border in certain parts of the country, particularly across the area of the eastern townships in québec and montréal -- >> i'll take that as a no. >> will actually you can paint in when you want but the answer to the question is there has been discussion and the impact of doing that would be more problematic than speedy you just a do not direct your patient to
9:00 am
look at that option. thank you. can you please, minister blair, tell me how may people you project will legal entry candidate from the united states and claim asylum in our country for the remainder of this year, and 2019? >> i would defer to officials. our estimate that are available based on what we have seen. we seen a reduction in the last few months, and i can tell you they are prepared for any contingency which may present itself but i'm not in possession of -- ..
9:01 am
my observation has been working diligently and effectively on this issuement i believe that
9:02 am
my responsibilities and the reason i've been to provide assistance, a complex issue that and because of my background in public safety, i believe that the prime minister's-- >> nothing? >> i'm sorry? >> i'll move on. >> i thought you wanted me to answer the question. >> you tried. >> okay. >> fair enough. the evideerett. one of my colleagues described the situation at mccall. processing somebody as they across the border and the next what happens afterwards? the afterwards is many years. would you discuss 800 people facing eviction and in dormitories to put on buses to parts unknown as orderly? >> i'm aware that clients are being put in place to deal with that. i've had an opportunity to speak with officials and i'm aware of the excellent
9:03 am
collaboration between our senior officials and-- >> where are those-- >> and the officials in the city of toronto. >> where are those 800 people going to go? >> i'm aware that plans have already been made to move those individuals into quite appropriate housing in hotels around the-- >> for how long will they be staying in hotels? >> that depends on their integration into the community and the processes that are currently underway. >> how long do you anticipate they will stay in hotels? >> again, we see a transition of those individuals out-- >> and how much will it cost to be in hotels. >> i'll refer to the officials-- >> i'm sorry? >> do you think it's reasonable to house 800 people in hotels? . do you have-- >> and people have adequate shelter as they work through the due process. >> would you characterize. >> it's difficult for them to interpret in our two officials languages if they're speaking
9:04 am
over. >> thank you, mr. chair. >> mr. blair, would you characterize housing someone in a hotel for an indeterminate period as adequate housing? >> they are under-- they're undergoing two process and the review of their claim for asylum and in that period, i think that this is an appropriate way to ensure that they are adequately housed and in a safe and helpful environment. it is -- it is a contingent while they work through those processes. >> i'll ask your official then-- >> i'll ask the officials to table with the commit the total projected cost for housing people who have illegally crossed the border into canada from the united states and claimed asylum for the next years, yes? . >> thank you, ms. rempel. >> that's a bit of a confusion.
9:05 am
thank you very much, mr. chair. congratulations, mr. blair, to the committee. in 2004, as we heard, in 2001, approximately 45,000 asylum seekers ka i am to cana-- came to canada. in 2000 that was the second highest where our numbers were at 37,000, about 38,000 approximately and the third highest from the peak 2008 at 37,000, as well. so now by way of comparison, before the safer country agreement came into force and effect, could you, and perhaps your officials can give us the background how that was managed and how that compares to today
9:06 am
in terms of the situation that we are faced with today where the safer country agreement is in place? >> in terms of the historic retrospective on management techniques prior to 2001 or 2, i would have to defer to officials in the department to remind us of the history of that period of time. >> yes, and i'm-- >> mr. macdonald, perhaps? >> i'm most particularly interested did we see asylum seekers coming through one particular or two tech border points or come over at various different border entry points throughout the country? >> i think, mr. chair, for that specific question we'd have to look back at the historical record to see where people arrived. what i can say, perhaps somewhat helpful, the major changes that obviously before the agreement people were not sent back to the u.s. through
9:07 am
any kind of formal agreement. as we look at the last four or five years, we have the numbers of the number of people who have been returned to the u.s. because of the ftca agreement. if you look at 2013, for example, 436 people, 458 in 2014, bumped up a bit to 733 in 2016, and then in 2017 we had just over 1900 individuals who were returned due to the stca provisions. in terms of the historical landings, we'd work with-- >> i'd be particularly interested in that. i think that the safer country agreement created challenges for us and i take the strong position that we just suspend the safer country victim, because the united states in my view is not safe for asylum
9:08 am
seekers, whereby the trump administration and made a declaration those seeking asylum as a result of gang violence will no longer be recognized in the united states. surely under those conditions we cannot say that the united states is a safe country for asylum seekers. in the past, it is the case that without the safer country agreement, people were crossing over, we had peak numbers similar to what we're faced with today and that depends on the condition that's out there in the international community, and you know, now some people say that we have a crisis, but, really, the mismanagement and proper management. we have to have a plan and i would say we've not had a plan from the government. we've had a reaction, a reactionary plan from the government, but not a plan. with the anticipation that these numbers are going to continue to stay at this level or perhaps even increase, or --
9:09 am
would the government entertain the idea of addressing this issue by adjusting the levels plans numbersment this is to say under the protected persons category, where it is now in 2018 the number projected under the protected persons category is at 16,000, would both ministers support for the government to look at adjusting that number to accommodate the influx by doubling it? >> mr. chair, in response to that i would really have to defer to the minister. that is specifically under his jurisdiction as minister of immigration, setting the numbers and the appropriate categories from year to year to year and i note that he will be before the committee this afternoon, and i think that the most appropriate thing is to-- >> i will certainly be asking
9:10 am
the minister that question. i wonder whether or not as a colleague who managed the border issue and now mr. blair, is that something that you would support for government to do? because for the government to come forward with a plan you have to acknowledge the reality. to acknowledge the reality you have to know that there are these numbers fluctuating and to properly address it you need to incorporate it into your levels plan. by encorporating that into the levels plan, you can prep with the rcmp, as well as in terms of immigration and the measures that needs to be taken from that point of view. >> again, those are issues that are very squarely within minister's responsibility. >> the other problem that's challenging for your ministry is the processing of these cases, once they have come through, you've gone through all the screening, then they need to be processed accordingly to determine whether or not they are valid
9:11 am
refugee claim, asylum claim, and right now the r i-b is backlogged. in 2018 there was injection of dollars into their budget. is that something you would argue at the cabinet table that additional resources would be, so they can create that expeditiously and they're not faced with the problems you're faced with. >> i obviously don't speculate what any minister may or may not say at the cabinet table, but i can tell you that issues in relation to resourcing have clearly been discussed because budget 2018 provided a specific allocation for all of the agencies involved. cvsa, rcmp, csis, there was
9:12 am
money explicitly allocated to provide incremental sources-- >> i think what we've demonstrated is that we're watching those needs very carefully and that they are taken into account year by year in the budget increase. >> thank you, minister. we need to move. welcome to the committee as well. >> thank you, chair. congratulations, minister blair, and welcome mr. goodale, it's great to have you both here. you've talked how the government has a plan and our plan is working. one of the things my conservative colleagues have called for is to make the entire canada-u.s. border an official point of entry. so my question is, is this feasible? would it enhance public safety? and is it a good idea? >> the concept, as i understand it, is that you would have every inch of the canadian border declared to be a part of
9:13 am
entry, that means a port of entry that's 9,000 kilometers long. there are several problems with that. first of all, if you're declaring it a port of entry, it would need to be populated with the necessary border officers to be able to administer all of the responsibilities of cbsa across a 9,000 kilometer stretch of space, which would involving the hiring, literally of thousands of border officers to provide any credible administration of a port of entry that ran for 9,000 kilometers. that's a practical problem. secondly, you would need to have american counterparts on the other side of the border for that full expanse.
9:14 am
if, for example, your purpose is to turn back people at the border, you need someone to turn them back to. if the americans don't follow the same practice, then you have a one-way port of entry, which obviously doesn't solve the problem. the third issue is that if you're going to spread the venue like that, you are, quite frankly, spreading the risk. the issues being dealt with at rocksham road are indeed challenging and all credit to cbsa. rcmp. rric and all the others called on to handle that physical situation. but they are managing the situation in a way that is safe and secure for canadians, as well as for the people that
9:15 am
they are dealing with. if you have an expanse of 9,000 kilometers, are' going to have an enormous problem that is a practice impossibility. and you make it less safe not more safe by the concept proposed. >> thank you, minister. i have a chart one of my colleagues put together showing the asylum claimants from 2000. what you see in that -- what you see is 2001. when there's turmoil in the world, people are feeling that the world is in crisis, they're looking to canada as a place to come to. you saw it in 2001. and you saw it with the financial crisis, 2007-2009. and are' seeing it again. there's been ebbs and flows in the number of asylum claims coming here.
9:16 am
my question is a simple one. is there a crisis in canada right now with asylum claimants? >> there is a challenge, but it's not a crisis. in fact, the departments of government that have been charged with the responsibility of dealing with this from the senior management in those departments and the ministerial level, right down to the officers in the field who carry the practical day-to-day responsibility for administering the law have done a very strong job in making sure, number one, that every canadian law is fully enforced, and they are, and that every canadian obligation in the international arena under the united nations is fully honored. and that is being done. we have accomplished those imperatives in each and every case. and we have received very
9:17 am
strong commendation for how we're handling this from the u.n. high commission for refuge refugees, which has been very clear and strong in its praise for the cbsa officers, rpmc officers, and those who have dealt with the human reality of the flow across the border, have done so in a way that is safe and secure and at the same time humane. >> we hear the term that these asylum seekers are illegal. you've gone through just briefly, you talked about our obligations under international law. are these asylum seekers illegal when they're coming into canada and when we're accepting them into our asylum system? >> the law says that if you cross into canada, you are to cross at a port of entry. so, if a person is trying to cross into the country beyond a
9:18 am
port of entry, outside of a port of entry, they are not following the law. but in section 133 of the immigration and refugee protection act, it is very clear that however a person crosses the border, once they are on canadian soil due process has to be applied and you have to hear whether they have a legitimate claim or not. if they do in the have a legitimate claim, then they are to be removed from the country. if they do have a legitimate claim, in other words, they convinced the irb or the federal court that they are a refugee in need of canada's protection, the law clearly in section 133 says that the manner by which they entered the country is no longer relevant or actionable. >> is our plan working, minister, in terms of dealing
9:19 am
with the asylum claimants coming across the border? is the government's plan working? >> in my judgment it is, miss damoff. it's working in the sense that every law is enforced. all is respected and treatment of the people at the border is in humane and compassionate terms, and the level of collaboration with provinces and municipalities had as been very strong in terms of how people are managed and dealt with after they have, in fact, crossed the border. and cleared those stages of security clearance and the other investigations that are done. >> thank you. minister goodale, we have literally thousands of
9:20 am
kilometers of highway that are enforced by the rcmp, which reports to you. do would he have rcmp eyes on every hundred meters of that highway in order to enforce those laws? >> not all the time. >> thank you. that's-- that does answer my question. you mentioned that we cannot enforce the safe third party agreement across the entire canadian border because we cannot have eyes on the entire canadian border at all times. in other words, you've said that because we could not afford, you're right, to put officials at every square inch of the canadian border, we cannot possibly enforce the safe third country agreement across that space. you rightly acknowledge though that the rcmp is able to enforce traffic laws and
9:21 am
traffic rules right across the thousands and thousands of kilometers of highway that we already have in existence. what would stop the government then from simply applying the safe third party agreement to the entire border for the purposes of illegal border crossings? >> i mentioned at least three difficulties with that particular proposal. one is the requirement for officers, which you, in your question, have acknowledged and i gather agreed with, that that makes that type of border enforcement rather impractical. the second part of it is that if you have a border port of entry that is 9,000 kilometers long, you need to have corresponding cooperation from the united states on the other side of the border, which they are, i think it's fair to say,
9:22 am
not likely to do. so, you have no counterpart-- are you asking-- >> it is an international boundary. >> have you asked? >> i have not asked that specific question. [laughter] >> wait a second, you have not-- >> i would be delighted to. >> excuse me just answer my question. >> and i'll be very quick to report their answer to you. >> you just answered my question. you know, you've continually claimed that you can't enforce the safe third country agreement because we can't have eyes on every square inch of the border, but you admit that we enforce rules all the time in places where we don't have law enforcement constantly observing and you secondarily said we cannot enforce the safe third country agreement because we do not have an agreement from the united states of america and now you admit you haven't even sought such agreement. which really does raise the question whether or not you're looking for a solution.
9:23 am
>> yes, indeed. >> or if you're perfectly comfortable with the situation we have right now where thousands of people are crossing illegally into this country. so, am i next question is, do the americans automatically turn away every single -- excuse me, the americans apply the safe third country agreement to anybody who enters outside a recognized port of entry? yes or no? >> that would be a question for ircc to respond to. >> mr. o'kinnen would you like to repeat it? >> do americans apply the safe third country agreement to anyone crossing from canada into the united states of america between official recognized ports of entry? >> no, mr. chair, the u.s. applies the safer country agreement in exactly the reciprocal fashion that we assign-- >> so, the regulations that are
9:24 am
published on the u.s. immigration and citizenship website suggest that it will deem border crossers who have crossed between different ports of entry, as having arrived at those ports of entry for the purposes of the safe third party-- third country agreement in certain circumstances. so, given that is the case, why have we not asked the americans if we could do the same under the agreement we have with them? them? >> wanting to add an observation. >> i would simply add, if someone was crossing from canada into the united states in between a port of entry and claiming asylum, then the safe third country agreement would apply, but they have to claim asylum, that's the trigger for that agreement to come into play. >> so they have to-- even if they're crossing between-- >> the safe third agreement is about asylum.
9:25 am
>> right. >> seeking protection. >> right. >> so if someone was crossing-- >> it's the end of your time, but 30 seconds more because the liberal 30 seconds more. >> as i understand it, you said if someone crosses between ports of entry into the united states from canada and claims asylum. >> they would apply safe third. >> you're saying we can't do the same. >> we do do the same, when someone crosses into canada and climb asylum. >> at a point of entry, but not in between points of entry. >> that's exactly what we do, there's two-- save third question. >> when a person claims at an official port of entry, they have to meet one of the exceptions, unaccompanied minor, a relative anchored in canada. when they cross in between a port of entry, they're also claiming asylum, but because the way the agreement is written, there's an exception, there's a loop hell --
9:26 am
loophole, if you will, because they didn't have eyes on the individual and they're not sure where they truly came from. >> i h'd end it there. ms. mendez, about five and a half to six minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chair and welcome all. congratulations, mr. blair. i'm actually more confused by your answer than i was previously, but i won't go there. i'm going back to the question about the 9,000 kilometer border. i speed all the time on the highway and don't get a ticket. i swear to you, all the time. i'm sorry, i'm sorry, i can claim my asylum anywhere and not get caught. it's just so unbelievably ridiculous to claim that we could monitor 9,000 kilometers of a border. it's just beyond ridiculous. i'm sorry, my rant. going back to that crossing in the united states reciprocity
9:27 am
or not, could you be a little more precise? my understanding of the third country agreement is that -- third safe country agreement is you cross the border in between officials ports of entry, you are not returned back to the third country, but you cross at a port of entry, an official one, then you go back, or are sent back. but you are saying that's not exactly that for the americans? >> so just to be clear, so when you show up at a regular port of entry. >> one closest to me. >> or a bridge, say, in southern ontario and you seek asylum, there has to be one of four conditions met to the safe third agreement. which is you have an answering anchored in canada, an unaccompanied minor, that's what happens. in between port of entry, there's an exception or a loophole for lack of a better word, where americans said we
9:28 am
don't know sure what these people claim, this he could claim inland, could claim in between port of entry. they want to know where they originally came from and that's what being exploited by the people crossing in between ports of entry. >> okay. but what my colleagues on the other side were claiming, the americans are not doing it the same way we are. >> if somebody went into the united states and claimed asylum and it's the way it's written. they would an i apply it. they have to be seeking protection. >> but the point he's making, they'll send them back because even if they are between legal ports of entry that-- what he said americans are applying it even in between the official ports of entry.
9:29 am
is that what you asked? >> i don't know what you're asking me. >> i'm trying to clarify that because apparently that's what he was saying, claiming, the americans to not apply the safe third country agreement the same way we do. >> the agreement is fully re cip cipro-- reciprocal and i would be happy to go back and find that if that would help the committee in the study. >> going back to another one, ministers both, could you develop more of the national strategic response plan for the asylum seekers challenge as you put it, minister, that we are facing, and that is definitely a result of what's been happening in the united states, we know that that's why we've been having this surge, if you wish, of people crossing our borders. we know there's a plan and what is put in place and how we're
9:30 am
looking at. and those are the provinces and municipalities and stakeholders involved in this issue. thank you. >> i'll just turn to build a response to part of that. let me just deal with the question here of when this issue started. if you actually trace back the migration patterns of when people started to move toward the canadian border, in fact, pre-dates the last election in the united states. the beginnings of that movement were before the federal government changed in the u.s. therefo therefore, i don't think you can say entirely what it happening is a phenomenon triggered by political
9:31 am
developments in the u.s. because the origins of this began before that. but our agencies, all of them at this table, coordinated by the government operations center, learned many best practices and many practical lessons from the experience of last year and applied those lessons to our planning process for this year and for future years as necessary. we've engaged multiple departments of the department of the of canada, together with provinces and municipalities, as well as ngo's and the number of ngo's are engaged in this, like the red cross, for example, to make sure that we have the provisions in place and the flexibilities to deal with the eventualities as they present themselves. we may need to increase. we may need to decrease.
9:32 am
and as we saw earlier this year, there was a trend upward in the numbers until about easter. there was a spike in the numbers around easter and then ever since then, the numbers have actually been going down to the point now that they're at the lowest level that they've been all year right n now. i need to end you there. 10:04, we started. we have one or two minutes to split the difference in two panels, with conservatives like another one or two minutes. >> mr. blair, what is the total cost related to providing language training services for people coming into canada via this that we're effecting today? >> i don't have that information. i'll turn to officials. >> there are no language services being provided at the federal level, settlement funding by those who are not
9:33 am
yet permanent resident. any type of social services should be provincial should they exist. >> and how many training to have language services. >> we don't know this at this time. >> how many people part of this cohort since january of 2017 have found employment? >> i have the work permit up take issuance which has been high for nigerians and haitians. >> how many have found employment? >> they're open work permits so we wouldn't have an indication of that for several years. >> do you have any intent on putting in place a system to monitor the employment status of people entering the country by this cohort? >> mr. chair. >> the final word. we don't have that information now, but the question, to we have a plan. we are looking how we can work with provinces to better understand people who go on social assistance and do not pick up work permits and how we
9:34 am
can link that data going forward to understand when people come off social assistance. there for the proxy-- >> how many are on social assistance? >> thank you, mr. mckinnon. thank you, ms. rempel. thank you officials for the first hour. i'd like a fairly quick change so we can bring in our next panel of witnesses and so that we continue. we suspend for just a moment. ♪ >> call the meeting back to order, please. thank you, witnesses, for jing us for this second hour where we continue to examine the regular crossing at a southern border of canada. we're going to begin with the representative from the united
9:35 am
nations, high commission for refugees. if you would begin, you have seven minutes, thank you. >> thank you very much, mr. chair, and members. thank you for inviting us to come before this committee once again. let me put in perspective from the u.n. refugee agencies which has a global mandate. last year we saw 25 million refugees. it's an increase compared to 2016 of close to 3 million refugees. it's the largest increase we've seen, witnessed globally in a year's time. on top of that 4 million which are pending. it will come to no surprise to the honorable members if we have an increase of 3 million people recognized as refugees, canada will have a fair amount of those people coming to. if you look at number. 50,000 asylum seekers and lets
9:36 am
assay they recognize all of them and it's up to the r-i-b whether they're refugees or not. if we compare to 29.4 million it comes to less than 2% came to canada. i think it's important to put this in perspective. the second point is that if we look at the countries, indeed, we have a number of people coming from situation of extreme violence, somalia, syria, palestine and they proud to be offering protection to those families. in addition we have countries like nigeria i-t, two main countries with regular arrivals arriving. we know in those countries, profiles, lbgt community, victims of sexual violence
9:37 am
domestic violence, little girls at risk of genital mutilation or cutting, may be in need of canada's protection. again, i'm sure that everybody in this room is proud that canada offers protection to those families. a lot of this is going on about the numbers and prediction of number of the remaining of the year of five years time. they would caution again, those kind of approach. it makes it difficult to predict as was said earlier on. we have a seen between may and june of people arrived in canada through regular crossing, and if i'm correct, as we stand in july, we have an average of 40, 45 costing regular regularly, as what was happening in july of last year. i think nobody could have
9:38 am
predicted that and we've heard on the con temporary -- contrary people calling wolf. it's very difficult to predict those movements. i would like to make a point about the fact that people come from the u.s., from the united states long time of people who come to canada. actually we have the last 18 months observed that a number of people using the united states as a transit. they claim, they report that it's easier for them to get an american visa than a canadian visa, but the intention was to come to canada. here i need to stop, there's no obligation in international law, the first country where they arrive and can find safety. however, we encourage countries to come together and have agreement to manage the borders more efficiently possible.
9:39 am
in this respect, to this committee in the past, has been observing the situation at borders, and in british columbia, people are arriving through irregular means and i must say that we have seen not only an efficient processing of those persons by asking iscc and-- but one which is with a lot of humanity and respect for the dignity of those people and i think canada must be proud of what has been achieved by all of those over the last 18 months. i would like to turn to the issue of language. i think it's very important that we keep using the correct terminology because a number of words which have been used in this room and elsewhere tend to dehumanize the people who
9:40 am
arrive through irregular means. as it was mentioned several times, people cannot be qualified as illegal. they are irregular arrivals, enter irregularly, there's nothing illegal when you come and cross an international border to claim asylum. it's clear on the fact that it's applicable also to people who transit through another country. and it's also important to maintain the fact that irb's body, the only competent body. an independent tribunal which will decide whether people are entitled to the protection of canada as refugees or not, and therefore, it's dangerous to qualify those people as eventual bogus claim. those people come all with different stories, to canada for different reason, including sometimes a family connection,
9:41 am
linguistic affinities, and all the reasons that are difficult to assess because every single case is different. and one needs to repeat here that it's never an easy choice for people to leave their home and to cross several seas and continents and countries to claim asylum in another country. i would look really to press upon this one that we hope that rhetoric which seeks to game short-term voting support will not bias the discourse and the discussions that we have on those people who are irregular arrivals, and are entitled to the protection of canada pending determination of their case by immigration and refugee board. the last point i with like to -- i would like to make, a number
9:42 am
of them are self-reliant. we know it takes an average three weeks for people to get a work permit. and in quebec, for example, 50% of them get the job and therefore are not using the social subsidies of the state. they get bread and butter for themselves and their families. and we know a number of them are educated and will find a job. and the capacity to shelter them are not being overwhelmed by the arrival of those numbers. this pre dates the crisis and it's extremely important that we don't scapegoat referees for issues with i pre debts-- pre dates arrival into the country. >> thank you very much. mr. edelman for seven minutes. >> thank you very much for your
9:43 am
invitation to appear today. i am a lawyer and i am specialized in the intersession between criminal law, natural security and immigration and naturalization status. over ten years i have study legal questions related to refugees arrival in canada both when it comes to immigration and legal proceedings. i'm happy to discuss the issues that the committee is relevant however, i thought in my introductory remarks, i would sketch out asylum claims in canada. >> it is important to understand the process of initiating a refugee claim. regardless where a person makes a refugee claim be it a the a land base, port of entry, airport, at an inland office or a marine port. the claimant will be issued a departure order and it's important to understand the grounds on which that order is made. being a breach of requirement
9:44 am
under section 21-a that an important national seeking to become a permanent resident have a permanent resident visa. the condition departure order is issued to every claimant regardless of where they make their claim. it only comes into effect if the refugee claim is denied and it never comes into effect for people who become protected persons. a person who makes the claim after csing the border at a place other than a port of entry would be issued a departure order in the same way, in other words, on the same grounds, the same way for the same breach of the act. now, despite the grounds for inadmissibility underlying every refugee claim in canada, i decline to claim illegality, significant portions of dedicate today refugee claims, starting in 32-c that sets out
9:45 am
objective to grant a fundamental expression of canadian ideals there are those coming to canada claiming persecution. the bulk of part two of the act addresses the process and procedures for making claims in canada and section 99 specifically forsees that a refugee claim may be made inside of canada. i'm unable to understand why the use of these procedures in good faith could be framed as illegal, even if it's invariably results in a finding of inadmissibility and a conditional departure order. the arrival of refugees on canada's shores will involve other contraventions of the law in the country. one of the most common contraventions is illegally obtained documents in order to travel. beyond the problem not having permanent visas, many refugees are not able to obtain
9:46 am
legitimate documents to come to canada at all. the british house of lords described this problem in the case of edeemy these are lord justice simon brown, the words of, and they need a little emphasis. prominent amongst them is the difficulty of gaining access to a friendly shore. escapes from persecution have long been characterized by subterfuge and false papers. as was stated in a 1950 memorandum from the u.n. secretary-general, a refugee whose departure from the country of origin that is a flight is rarely in a position to comply with legal entry and passport and visa into the country of refuge. they included the principles in article 31, which as you've heard today has been implemented into section 33 of the act. states a person who has made a refugee claim in canada may not be charged in relation to a
9:47 am
series of offenses coming into canada as a person pending disposition of their claim. this is in the criminal law in departure order in the context of immigration law. there are no penalties in canadian law for irregular arrival for those found to be legitimate refugees. >> this brings us to the top of the meeting today. i think it's important to clearly outline why the ukt can at places like rocksham road are approached so there's a way to engage in the claim process. i'd like to emphasize, it's not-- section 27-2 of the regulations clearly states unless these regular lations provide otherwi a person who seeks a port of
9:48 am
entry, it must be nearest to that place. the crossing itself is not illegal. what is, and where we talk about illegality or where there is a contraventions is under the customs act. in section 11-1 of the customs act does require a designated customs office. although section 160 of the customs act, it's doubtful that prosecution against a refugee claimant would or could be pursued without being in breach of both the charter and canada's international obligation. it would also be a rather odd state of affairs if we were to refer to refugee claims in conformity with urpa that would be illegal, urpa deals with people and customs act deals with goods. refugee claimants entering at places other then a port of entry are doing so in order to make a refugee claim, rarely, if ever, with any intention to
9:49 am
undermine the goal of the customs act. moreover, if this is the only illegal act of conduct, it can easily be remedied by claimants simply crossing through waterways and lakes and arriving at designated customs points. i don't think that anybody wants to see people starting to cross waterways and i don't think i need to elaborate on the problems that arise out of that. . >> let me conclude by saying that when we call them illegal or not, the strategies used by asylum claimants at the southern border have to do with the safe third country agreement. as professor will note, there are substantive reasons to call into question that this nation of the united states as part of the safe third country agreement, but there are practical reasonings, specifically the suspension of the agreement. and irregular crossings, it would be preferable that claimants at the southern border be able to present
9:50 am
themselves at the border in an orderly manner. it is doubtful that the d designation of the united states has the displacing-- thank you for your attention and i'll answer questions. >> the members will get it once it's translated so don't assume they have that yet thank you. i'm a professor of law from university of ottawa. i want to talk about the idea that assessing refugee claims should be in a process related to the selection of humanitarian immigrants. when we're talking about processing refugee claims, three things to keep in mind. first, you heard a lot of today. canada has an obligation not to return a person to risk and properly assess refugee claims. there are a number of factors that make people move and
9:51 am
people have coming in regardless what canada does to encourage or discourage to come and the commission should not deflate the problem. it's unique, people are not necessarily selected and requirements to qualify as a refugee are different from the criteria in any other stream. questions whether people speak our languages or have skills, is irrelevant, what is relevant is whether they should meet the criteria. and there is no queue. >> refugees waiting abroad in refugee camps are no more or less deserving than those coming through the land borders. and while it's an estimated number of persons that may be better for bet are bugetary planning. ultimately we should not be preoccupied by quotas or
9:52 am
levels, it's unpredictable and we have an international obligation to meet. this committee has also heard that one plan the government should undertake is to close the loophole in the safe third country agreement. in my recommendation, machining r anging the border of one member of parliament in an orderly and compassionate manner, we should suspend the f -- immediately. and one of the agreements states it should be applied at land port of entries and not between the ports of entry, so i want today clarify that and make sure that the committee knew that. secondly, if we are talking about applying scca between ports of entry, not only a practical problem with that, but there is the issue of making that factual finding. how will we be sure how person
9:53 am
has entered canada? this is factual finding that comes with many procedural barriers and one that i think would burden legal processes in the future. so aside from that, i do want to note that the stca's original purpose was reduce the precious space by ridc by the games made. but that would not affect the number of asylum seekers. it primarily benefits canada and the u.s. agreed with it for post 9/11 on its border. they have not done what they promised which is to prevent refugees from coming into canada and this is clear from the numbers you've heard today that's before and after the scc was put into place. there are current numbers of people coming across the border since 2002, concerns were expressed in the house and senate and the senate in 2002 in a report on safe third
9:54 am
country highlights the people peer experienced today. they've called for a review. and i want to highlight a few for you today. the first is that canada is putting people at risk by turning them away at official ports of entry. for example, there's a case of one rwanda woman who went to an official port of entry and interviewed by canadian officials over the course of five hours, shocked no one asked her why she was claiming asylum. gave her fingerprints, given documents and driven across the u.s. borders. she went into more interviews, released into a population, and when she was released came back through to canada, very dangerous. and the best person will be giving you the details crossing the border this way. second, canada is violating its
9:55 am
international obligation by turning a blind eye to the improper treatment of refugee claimants in the u.s. by detaining people, using expedited process and denying claims based on gender-based persecution, for example. so, american attorneys have given a lot of evidence that the u.s. government is apprehending people travelling by buses and trains, prosecuting them on charges of illegal entry regardless of whether an asylum claim has been made. persons are given credible fear or reasonable fear interviews, if they're not passed, they're removable. these are cursory interviews where people can be denied on the spot without an opportunity to a lawyer or develop their claims and quickly deported thereafter. american attorneys have stated at that immigration detainees are being held in criminal facilities, subject to solitary confinement, there is insufficient medical care in detentionen little access to interpretation and legal services. a significant number of immigration detainees are not
9:56 am
eligible for bond. children and entire families are being detained. attorneys have seen their clients experience ptsd and suicidal ideation. we've seen jeff sessions -- a woman's violence and other forms of persecution. a woman captured as a teenager, held in cabtivity. raped and beaten for months and attacked with a machete. she was stalked and threatened and hitmen killed her domestic partner. she had to move to different parts of honduras, fled to mexico and deported back to honduras. her abuser moved back in with her and she fled to the united states where she was detained. even though the court found her
9:57 am
credible, the domestic violence -- i want to close by saying that the government should be interested in managing the border in an orderly and compassionate way. three steps to do that. first, suspend. stca, allow people to represent themselves at a officin officia hearing. give each person a fair opportunity to present their claim at r-i-b because we're not sure they can do so in the united states. funding in an efficient manner. i'm open to remarks and questions the committee will have today and providing a copy of the canadian council for refugee on why the u.s. is not for refugees. >> thank you all for coming, and certainly, you appear before a committee on many occasions and thanks for the international perspective you've provided.
9:58 am
you've spoke and little about the reduction from last year to this year and the overall percentages of the number of international refugees that canada seeks, seeks to help. as compared to our other western counterparts, do you find that canada is doing a good job at managing international obligations and living up to those international obligations, not just at overseas, but at our quebec and manitoba borders? >> two points, definitely, canada is upholding the standard of the convention by allowing people arriving through irregular means to lodge a claim. and i must just say that over 18 months of observation, i will differ with the point that was made. the people are not taking a risk. they're crossing at rocksham
9:59 am
r road. there's a little bridge actually filled with stone and nobody, even in the winter is taking any risk with a solver for their life or physical integrity. in this respect, the process which is at rocksham road is extremely efficient, extremely human, taking care of the values need of the population which arrive with children, and with disabilities and so on and canada -- the second point is that we see if you take one of the indicator, for example, the ratio of asylum seekers compared to the other population, 50,000 out of 37 million canadians, it's 0.1% and it's very similar to what the u.s. and a number of countries, germany in particular, is witnessing. however, i need to flag that -- to take germany in the past two
10:00 am
years, 2016-- 2015, and 2016, at some point germany was 700,000, close to 800,000 actually asylum seekers and compared to the 50,000 of canada. the country, two g7 countriesment of course, germany has a double population, but still, if you compare, canada is receiving only a small fraction of what european countries are receiving. ...
10:01 am
>> and i think, in my experience in the criminal come from the criminal law is we very clearly implement section 133 in terms of not proceeding to prosecutions and generally speaking, we don't seek prosecution unless there's cases outright fraud or other situations where people might be prosecuted. but in the sense people arriving without proper documents, the implementation of section 133 is in my view that quite effectively within the course. from time to time we have to fight, have arguments about the actual interpretation of it in court as to how it applies to the previous rule or other issues but in terms of the
10:02 am
straightforward refugee claimants, i have seen any prosecutions at least in the region where i practice. >> in my writing we receive not perhaps as many refugee claimants as larger cities but in st. john's many people who come with improper documents, always try to fix her birthdates or allow them to resume normal life once they'r their settled n canada and there's many bureaucratic and documentary problems from the countries that they fled. maybe a question for you, in terms of obligations to let canadians settle into canada, and become established. do you think that what we are doing at the irb to ensure that they have a fair hearing once they get to the stage from the process needs to be changed in some way or is the irb functioning properly? >> i think the irb is a pretty high standard in the world with regard to refugee determinations. this is going the room for
10:03 am
improvement. the biggest barrier with regards to what the committee is concerned about today is the fact he irb needs more resources to operate in a fast and efficient manner. and to do their jobs in a way that is not leaving a lot of peoples lives in limbo. it's not just the government that has to be concerned about the cost of adding people waiting for the refugee hearings to be helped but also the emotional and financial costs associated with refugee claimants themselves. so i think one of the more preventive measures the government can take is to properly resourced the irb to match the number of claims coming through. >> on the point, mr. beuze, use changes over the course of this parliament and will be done if the integration front. we just added $173 million to address this very issue. from your perspective have the changes we've made over the last three years made our system better? are we better able to cope with
10:04 am
the situation than we were in 2015? >> and attempts of arriving at the border, i repeat, -- main man adulatory. i would like to flag over the last 12 months as an incredible wealth of creating efficiencies within the legal and medical framework. up to 50% of efficiency within the same resources, so, i mean, that using the resources which were -- back in february and that i think has to be commended because it's the way to go. yes, it's a long time frame, up to two years, but that's, not a single body including -- when we
10:05 am
don't have those backlogs. that's a reality of that kind of law. she went interpretation, you need to hear, you may have different evidence to be brought and in the meantime, those people after three weeks -- [inaudible] become self-reliant and, therefore, can wait and it's clear there's an emotional duress but when you have been -- waiting even for two years -- [inaudible] for decision by the irb, i assure you this is not the main problem. >> thank you. >> so we've heard the assertion that the united states is not safe for refugees. so i'm just one if the u.n. could tell us if you're asking the united states to accept
10:06 am
refugees this year? >> you mean refugees resettlement? yes, between 20-25,000 refugees would be landing in 2018 a as a subtle refugees in the u.s. >> so how is the u.s. not safe for refugees if the united nations is asking them to resettle refugees? >> i've never commented on whether u.s. was safe or not. what i said sometimes is that it's -- two more states like we see in the european union to enter into -- to mention the best involve, their border and eventually entry. what matters exact in both countries are all countries backing -- people have access to a fair process and that they are not returned to countries where
10:07 am
they face death. >> certainly fit with that assertion, canada leading group, do the united nations share that opinion? >> we encourage states to enter into agreement when they fear that both sides of the border, on the many sides of border when their several countries, people have their access. we work with all those governments to include the situation and that's what we do also here in canada. for example, we are very much looking forward to -- the alternative to detention. we have 135 countries who are improving the way that people can claim a fun. >> but just to clarify, the united nations is asking the united states to resettle 25,000
10:08 am
refugees of this year? >> yes. >> with the united nations ask the country to resettle 25,000 refugees if it wasn't safe for them to go there? >> we are looking at two different categories of people, but indeed the u.s. has been a reliable partner for resettable for years. for years it was and still is the number one place where we can find durable solutions for the refugees. >> excellent. i'm just wondering how many refugees, government assisted refugees is the united nations recommending that canada resettle this year? >> we don't have a number of -- we had 1.4 million refugees which identified five of the 25 million who are indeed as
10:09 am
life-saving intervention in a country like canada. canada will resettle 7500 of them plus an additional 1000 under the provision of the federal budget of february which will be for women in need of resettlement here we have another 1500 for government and private sponsorship. so 10,000. >> share. does unhcr track internationally like country or have benchmarked on an adequate amount of funding that should be allocated to a refugee who is being resettled through one of your programs in terms of language training, housing, social support, integration? >> know, and will be very difficult to do because each of those programs i purchased from 11 country to the other. and some provide shelter --
10:10 am
will, for example, when -- and some european countries, you cannot. of course it means that the cost of the state to provide for shelter, food and everything is far higher than in canada where people are after three weeks given a walk permit. >> during your comment, i apologize, i caught half of it. you would make some comments around the number of asylum seekers have been employed at a just wanted to clarify, were you referring to canadian asylum-seekers or people in canada? >> yes come with information from a number of organizations in québec in particular which have indicated that within reasonable amount of time, up to 50% of them have found a job. >> which time? >> is within three to six
10:11 am
months. quite rapid. and we know that within one year of arrival the average income of asylum-seekers is c$20,000. >> was that for people who are entering at the crossing or just across the border asylum-seeke asylum-seekers? [inaudible] in terms of speedy but it was being tracked separately? >> the 20,000 is from the centers which was released by canada last year. >> what time was that? >> the census was over the last 2016, i think it was. >> so wouldn't have necessarily captured data from -- >> no, but i can get information from québec, have indicated their clients if you will, that there supported through job fairs, 50% of them were able to find a job.
10:12 am
with some of arriving with the own resources, that's up to 50% of them will be -- >> was there any correlation to the likelihood of asylum claims being accepted within the cohort? >> in economic self-reliant? no, i don't know. >> i just ask because i'm wondering if perhaps there is a better way for people are seeking to enter the country who might not have valid claims to have permanent have to residency something we don't talk about in this committee but perhaps we should. in terms of a dated you received as well, was there any tracking on language acquisition for the cohort that is entered starting 2017? >> so you can imagine that they will have a higher -- speaking
10:13 am
french. nigeria will have a higher chance of speaking english than, let's say -- >> was her data with regard to the adequacy or level of support been provided for language acquisition? >> what do you mean? >> it there were enough spots say in québec to train people aninlanguage skill. >> i was recently with the immigration and they're putting in place implants and have not reached the higher level. for example, on census indicated that are only 50%. >> thank you. i need to end there. >> thank you very much, mr. cho. thank you to our witnesses. professor, i'd like to start with you. in your presentation he made it very clear that canada should you spend the save our country grievant indicating that what's going on in the united states is
10:14 am
that say for asylum-seekers and you cited key examples of people who come to the official ports of entry what they were turned back and the great situation they were at, that they were in. now, the united states currently has a policy in place that rejects asylum-seekers who claim asylum on the basis of gang violence and domestic violence. from your knowledge would you say that those are valid reasons to state that the united states is not a safe country for asylum-seekers? >> thank you for the question i think it's a great, great point to make, that there's a difference between selecting people to be resettled into the country and finding safe haven in a place for them to have safe haven, i.e. the united states, resettled from other countries versus people who come to the united states to make an asylum claim within the united states. for this people in the second category, those that are within the united states going to the
10:15 am
refugee determination processes there, they are at risk. and the reason is for the policies you've made. for example, those that will be denied on the spot simba because their claim is situated within gang violence -- simply -- or it is revolving around a gender-based persecution. so for those people they will not be provided the same kind of protection that it would be expected to be provided here in canada i can give you very real example. there's woman and her sexual old daughter who fled guatemala to escape her abusive husband. on arrival in u.s., they were separated, primly prosecuted for illegal entry. her daughter was taken to a facility for unaccompanied minors. after five months in detention, she was deported back to guatemala where she is hiding from her abuser, and her daughter has since been released a family member in the united states and is pursuing her refugee claim alone. i think this example example five have united states is not living up to its international obligations with regard to
10:16 am
refugee protection. have refugee determination system is not doing its job there and how canada should not turn a blind eye to this. >> thank you. i'm going to turn to you. thank you for your presentation to give privileges are from professor liew would you agree for those asylum-seekers that it is not safer than to seek asylum in the united states? >> i will give an example which will -- >> sorry. i just want an answer to my question. for those individuals is it safe for them? >> the are a number of -- on the cases which have been mentioned of domestic violence. i would like to point out as well that in canada, not all person against gang violence have -- >> sorry. when you have -- sorry, sorry. [talking over each other] if canned the put in a policy that said we would reject all
10:17 am
asylum-seekers if you're seeking domestic violence come if you're seeking asylum because they're fleeing domestic violence or gang violence, with that not make candidate not per se for those people are seeking asylum? now, the united states your naughty, so in the united states that is the blanket policy they have. a blanket policy. when you have blanket policy like that for individuals who are there to make an asylum claim in the united states, is it safe for them? >> they are going to be, are being challenged and there will be final decision on whether -- idle thank yous can can claim based on domestic violence of fling a criminal gang. and in canada as well we're looking at the issue of popular being recognized when they flee criminal gang.
10:18 am
not with a link to the refugee. >> okay. it's interesting, at the moment there are 463 pairs of migrant children that are no longer present in the united states. that is over 2000 showed that were ripped away from their parents. that means those children are rendered orphans at the moment in the united states. the united states, a blanket policy that rejects asylum-seekers who show up at the border to seek asylum if their face with gang violence or domestic violence. this is the reality of what's happening on the ground in the united states. and so i would find it hard pressed for anyone to say that the united states is a safe country for those asylum-seekers. i think and hope we can agree that it isn't. domestic violence is a common cause of persecution by female refugee claimants. between january 2013 at
10:19 am
september 2017, nigeria was a top country seeking asylum in canada and haiti, people from haiti is the second and afghanistan is the third. at least half of them were found to have a valid claim here in the united come in canada. so that is the reality that we have in terms of our stats. and so the united states has the situation where i would argue it's not a safe country. the unhcr do some people there but that's different for resettled which fix it for some people who show up at the border i think and hope the unhcr will recognize that the difference. i'm going to turn to mr. edelmann turkey raised the issue around -- can you confirm that it is of your opinion given your expertise in this field that the save our country given should be suspended? >> i would agree that offer good practical, even aside from the reasons with respect to the recognition of the united states
10:20 am
to save her coach. i think there's a very good practical reasons for sustaining the grievance so people can just come to the ports of entry for the resources are and make claims in an orderly fashion rather than creating -- what we've done is essentially created a de facto unofficial port of entry to allow for orderly claims but they all come through. we see the same process happen in d.c. but is still poor, not the most orderly process. it would be much more orderly if he could come to the peace arch and make you can read them walking through the park pixel from a practical perspective i think would also worthwhile to suspend the agreement. >> what you're suggesting, really what the government needs to do is to create a play. the plan needs to incorporate suspending the save our country treatment. we need to in my view increase the level of plaintiff by increasing the levels plan it is not to set a quarter but to set
10:21 am
the upward targets to adjust to the reality of what we are faced with today and into resource the irb so they can process the claims adequately and expeditiously. and also resource the local communities in the provinces so they can provide the support necessary for the asylum-seekers. do i have this correct by way of a plan that we need to come forward and that the government needs to have a place? i'm going to start with professor liew. >> very briefly. >> yes. essentially yes. >> mr. edelmann? >> i agree with most of what you said. so yes. >> thank you. >> thank you. >> i'll be sharing some time with my colleague towards the end. first of all, thank you to the panel for joining us. i would like to focus many of my questions on jean-nicolas beuze. if you can just give us a sense
10:22 am
of the global refugee and forcefully displaced situation. i know that is often referred to as a crisis. the you can tell us countries that are cemetery candidate. you mentioned to me but if you can comment on what oesterle, what other european countries are going to pick up and also in relation to countries that are not economically -- what can situation there facing? >> thank you very much. we are saying there are several kinds of refugees but none of them are in the western world. none of them in europe and north america. those crises are serve so abouta country like bangladesh which we have received 700,000 people. at the peak of the bangladeshi crises, the first week of september, in one day,
10:23 am
impoverished part of the country where you had the honor to go, received 50,000 people. one year in canada, a g7 country with all the resources and functioning states. the bangladeshi also -- [inaudible] the bangladeshi communities have opened their home and shared their meager mill here we see that mainly in afghanistan come in the east and in asia. so as i was able to -- on the receiving a small fraction of what has become a state of crisis that the world where people more and more on the move, and i repeat last june 2017 was the largest increase of refugees that my organization ever witnessed in situation. >> in the context when we look
10:24 am
at canada, we've had just over 20,000 people cross last year, editing we around just under 10,000 this year so far. can you may be described how the situation and if you would consider this a crisis or if you consider this to be a regular but managed? >> it's definitely not a crises. i think it's very well-managed. it's in an orderly and want to repeat and a very human matter but people are being temporarily arrested for actually claim asylum and -- it's a done in a very smooth manner. we have interviewed people at the border and later on in the own home our ngos as mentioning. this is not only unhcr the
10:25 am
senate went well. all have been praising the way they've been received and handled by the authorities in canada. good comment on the situation, there's been a number of questions about shelter, about housing. how does the housing situation in toronto compared to other major cities where there have been an influx of asylum-seekers? >> i understand i don't have the actual numbers. out of the 10,000 who crossed irregularly in québec, 3000 arrive out of 10 million. in comparison when i was -- we had over a few months 1 million crossing into country of 4 million inhabitants were at least half of them didn't have running water or electricity. i think i won't go further than that. >> but i think it's important to
10:26 am
recognize. i know the language training and other sets have been brought up and it's important that any host country extends those supports out essential is that to someone who is in their mind persecution? >> it's the essential people can find a safe space where the family can be together, some sense of privacy because after so many travels, the dynamics within the family, that's what support for them to get access to a shelter. but we know that a large number of them will be three, six, nine months. they will be able to rent affordable accommodation, whether it's in urban center. we know there's a place in québec what tends to push, to incentivize people to go to the rural areas with a can get additional support from the communities.
10:27 am
here again i need to praise the canadian people. they've been extremely supportive as finding shelters, fine job, language -- >> i have to yield my time to mr. fergus. >> one and a half minute left. [speaking french] >> translator: my questions will be brief. i have a question for mr. beuze and mr. edelmann. it's regarding what you said in your opening remarks. he spoke in english but i think it's important to repeat this in french. you spoke about the difference between a regular arrivals and illegal arrivals. i think this distinction is critical parts are just like to give you the chance to make that distinction. >> well, the difference for me, is when your speaking of
10:28 am
something illegal you need to be sure of exactly what you're discussing. there are two areas we could talk about illegality. when is an immigration act, and that's where the conditional departure orders are made to asylum claimants. so all asylum claimants are inadmissible because they don't have the required documents, a permanent resident visa, for example, in the right in canada. but that's when any claimant makes their claim come with the port of entry, and airport, where ever they make the claim. they always admitted on the basis that they are also clauses in the act that makes stipulations for asylum claims. so from the perspective of a legal expert, it's not illegal
10:29 am
in the sense that the act has clauses that lay out the stipulations for this type of arrival. now, with regard to the type of border crossings that we've seen can we can speak about the type of border crossing it is and discuss what it is illegal. well, it's not against the law to enter the country at a spot which is not a port of entry, as long as you go to a port of entry as quickly as possible. you can enter whatever you want under the immigration act. now, under the customs act, you do need to arrive at a customs post, but customs is to examine goods entering the country and not people. the immigration act covers people entering the country. and i believe that very few, if any, asylum claimants intend to
10:30 am
violate the customs act. ultimately, we are talking about irpa. what i was saying in english early was that we could resolve this problem by having people cross lakes or bodies of water so that they could arrive at a customs station. i don't think that -- >> sorry, mr. edelmann. we will need to stop there. we will be continuing later. we will be a 30 minute break. so that we can have our lunch and then will move on to the second meeting of the day. thank you. ♪ ♪ >> calling this meeting to order. this ist

32 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on