Douglas Todd: The narrow view from the migration sector bubble

Todd on his experience at Metropolis (I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with him, as I always find his columns of interest).

His critique about the Metropolis bubble could of course be repeated with respect to most conferences. As could his critique of attendees being dependent of government cheques. Being dependent on private sector funding doesn’t make one more objective.

However, all that being said, it is a valid critique that Metropolis does not include a wide range of perspectives in both the plenaries and workshops, something that the conference organizers, as well as individuals like me who organize workshops, should keep in mind.

As well as the general point that one should be mindful of one’s bubble, and make efforts to get outside it, whether as Todd did by coming to Metropolis or ensuring that one’s media includes a range of perspectives (the main lesson that I learnt working under former Minister Jason Kenney as recounted in Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias: Resetting Citizenship and Multiculturalism):

I just spent a few days with Canadians who work with immigrants, refugees, international students and other migrants.

The almost 1,000 people at the 2017 Metropolis Conference in Montreal are on the front lines of an effort central to a country with arguably the world’s highest per capita in-migration.

Each year, Canada spends roughly $1.2 billion on the so-called “settlement sector.” Its mission is to assist more than 300,000 new immigrants and refugees a year while supporting 325,000 foreign students and more than 300,000 temporary foreign workers.

Migration is a mass phenomenon in Canada, unlike in most nations. Many settlement workers live in the cities that draw most migrants: Foreign-born people make up 23 per cent of Montreal’s population, 45 per cent of Metro Vancouver’s and half of Greater Toronto.

Workers in the settlement-sector form an influential Canadian subculture. One person at Metropolis affectionately referred to them as “activists with pensions.” Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen spoke twice and told them they greatly influence public policy.

I began wondering, however, how much these upstanding people represent the Canadian population. Do their values correspond at all to opinion poll results or with the issues Canadians follow through the media?

The vast majority at the taxpayer-funded Metropolis conferences live on government paycheques or grants. They are in the Immigration Department, the Heritage Department, public research universities and taxpayer-financed non-profit organizations.

Their theme is humanitarianism. Metropolis participants repeatedly said Canada should bring in more immigrants, refugees and foreign students, migrants are a “vulnerable population” and taxpayers should spend more on them.

Borrowing from Canadian scholars Keith Banting and Will Kymlicka, it’s fair to say almost all at the 19th national Metropolis event would be among the one-third of Canadians who unconditionally support multicultural, refugee and immigration policy. I did not hear disapproval.

They would definitely not be among the slightly smaller proportion of people that Banting and Kymlicka found at the opposite end; those opposed to Canadian-style immigration and multiculturalism.

It’s also not likely many attendees would be in the middle group of Canadians — the roughly 40 per cent (domestic and foreign-born) who generally support official multiculturalism, but with conditions.

Given what I witnessed, and the titles of hundreds of Metropolis presentations, critical discussion was muted. Orthodoxy seemed to reign.

It’s understandable. A lot of livelihoods, research grants and vested interests are at stake.

And, anyways, most attendees seemed keen on what they do. A few, indeed, seemed boastful.

There were basically only two things attendees would criticize.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told Metropolis delegates they greatly influence public policy. But to what extent do they reflect a cross-section of Canadians?

One was the alleged shortage of funding for settlement organizations, refugee agencies and foreign students. As a keynote speaker said, “We always have to do more.”

The second thing subject to criticism was the “media” and, by extension, Canadians themselves. Each was occasionally referred to as “tolerant” but more often chastised for being xenophobic.

Source: Douglas Todd: The narrow view from the migration sector bubble | Vancouver Sun

‘Indescribably sad and depressing’: A gallery of letters from Canadian pioneers and immigrants who absolutely hated it here

Nice counterpart and reminder that life has always been challenging for immigrants, particularly the first generation in earlier times:

If you were born in Canada, chances are good that your family tree contains at least one person who spent much of their life absolutely hating this place.

Despite our treasured national mythos as a promised land of wealth and opportunity, our history is littered with tales of people crying or screaming with anguish after taking their first steps in the True North.

A gallery of examples are included below. While many would learn to thrive in the new country, history books usually leave out the part where the mere sight of Canada sparked utter horror in new immigrants.

“As we sped across Ontario with its rocks, hills and tunnels, we were afraid we were coming to the end of the world. The heart of many a man sank to his heels and the women and children raised such lamentations as defies description.”
Ukrainian immigrant Maria Adamowska, describing her train journey west in 1899.

“I became anxious when I wondered what kind of a person would be here to greet me. He had a good physique like I had seen in his photo, but he was simple-minded. I was so sad — I despaired.”
Japanese immigrant Ishikawa Yasu, who came to Victoria in the early 20th century as a “picture bride”; a woman paired with a husband in Canada purely through photographs.
— Excerpted from Good Wives and Wise Mothers: Japanese Picture Brides in Early Twentieth Century British Columbia.

“She and the children left her husband. She said: ‘You can keep your Saskatchewan, I’ve had enough!’ She was a beautiful woman. She came from around Montreal. She often came over. She ranted and raved about her husband. ‘Isn’t it appalling of him to bring us to country like this! Freeze … did we freeze!’”
Saskatchewan pioneer Rachel Périgny-Desmarais, describing the departure of a neighbour.
— Excerpted from “Other” Voices: Historical Essays on Saskatchewan Women

“The Canadian prairie with its long winters and impermanent rectangular houses conveys something indescribably sad and depressing.”
Montreal-based German consul Karl Lang in a 1913 report warning fellow Germans against further immigration to Canada.
— Excerpted from A History of Migration from Germany to Canada, 1850-1939.

“I came because my daughter is here and I wanted to be close to here … but I am not happy here … I keep hoping that once I learn the language it will be better for me here. But the language is very hard. Sometimes I just cry because it seems I will never get it into my head.”
A mid-1970s interview with a Polish immigrant identified as Ludwiga.
— Excerpted from The Immigrants, by Gloria Montero.

“I don’t look lonely, do I? And I’ve been on the land all my life.”
Canadian Minister of Immigration Robert Forke attempting to reassure British journalists in 1927. At the time, many British households were receiving troubling letters from recently immigrated family decrying the loneliness of life in Canada.

“There are all kinds in this army of the disappointed; the thin, peaked-faced, unhealthy-looking east-end Londoner; the brawny man from Battersea; the sallow mechanic; the city tradesman; the clerk.”
From a 1908 report by The Globe describing unemployed British immigrants who had come to Canada with visions of “easy wealth.”

“When it was difficult to find work he would be cross with the children, even with me. I tried to understand the changes in him. I knew he was worried. But one night I couldn’t stand it anymore and I started to scream at him, to scream and to hit him. And you know what he did? He cried. My husband cried like a child.”
A mid-1970s interview with an Ecuadorian immigrant identified as Angelina.
— Excerpted from The Immigrants, by Gloria Montero.

“He will find at first that the travel and change of life will raise his spirits; then will come a period of depression, under the rough task of beginning in a new country, to be followed by the feeling of security of home and subsistence, which is the most solid blessing to a man.”
From an 1873 immigrant guide to British Columbia. That same guide warned women and “men not accustomed to rough work with their hands” to stay away.

“If the people knew what poor emigrants have to go through, there would not be many come to Canada. Though, thank God, I have known none, yet I have seen plenty of their miseries.”
An 1837 letter by an unknown author published in Great Britain to warn away future emigrants to Canada.

“After they landed, Mrs. Patterson used to tell that she leaned her head against a tree, which stood for many a year after, and thought if there was a broken-hearted creature on the face of the earth, she was the one.”
From an 1877 history of Pictou, Nova Scotia describing one of the area’s earliest settlers.

“Three months ago a Hollander committed suicide due to despondency and poverty and there’ll be more … There are a lot here who would very much like to return to Holland.”
A 1928 letter written to a Arnhem, Netherlands newspaper in which Dutch immigrants to Canada attempt to warn others from going to Canada.

“The central government, the provinces, and the railroads are all trying as hard as possible to win immigrants. They distribute brochures that praise Canada to the heavens. Care, particularly with regard to these publications, is strongly urged.”
Another early 20th century German government pamphlet warning its citizens to stay away. This one warned that “the greatest part of Canada is uninhabitable for Europeans.”
— Excerpted from A History of Migration from Germany to Canada, 1850-1939.

“Our host … had written to us to boast of the prosperity he had attained in such a short time. He said that he had a home like a mansion, a large cultivated field, and that his wife was dressed like a lady … How great was our disenchantment when we approached that mansion of his … it was actually just a small log cabin.”
Another entry by 1899 Ukrainian immigrant Maria Adamowska.

Source: ‘Indescribably sad and depressing’: A gallery of letters from Canadian pioneers and immigrants who absolutely hated it here | National Post

The Deported: Hundreds of B.C. criminals without citizenship shipped out

Underlying logic undermined by blind application to those who have spent most of their life in Canada, where their criminality developed:

The 2013 legislation means any permanent resident sentenced to six months or more can be deported with fewer avenues of appeal. The old threshold was a two-year court sentence and more chances to appeal.

CBSA statistics show that the new rules have had the intended effect.

The total number of criminals deported from the Pacific region in 2011, 2o12 and 2013 was 174. Over the subsequent three years,  276 people were deported from the region for their criminal history.

Some have been high-profile gangsters like Barzan Tilli-Choli, of the United Nations gang, who was sent back to Iraq in January after serving almost eight years for plotting to kill the Bacon brothers. He came to B.C. as a teen in 1999.

Others, like Van Heest, suffer from serious mental health issues that contributed to their criminality.

Many of those affected have been in Canada since early childhood, but their caregivers never obtained citizenship for them.

Somebody dropped the ball, whether it was the parent or the state if they ended up being a ward,” Golden said.

In Van Heest’s case, his family thought he was automatically a Canadian.

“By the time he was an adult and could have (applied for citizenship), he couldn’t because he had the (criminal) record and he was also dealing with a mental illness that was untreated,” Golden said.

Critics say the new rules are unforgiving and don’t look at the individual circumstances of those ordered out of Canada for criminality.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said she supported the legislation in 2013 and still supports it today. And she thinks the majority of Canadians do, too.

“The primary responsibility of legislators is to keep the Canadian population safe, so that’s really … why we made these changes in 2013,” she said.

Focusing on any specific case, including Van Heest’s, is the wrong approach, Rempel said.

“Where I think we go off the rails is when we look at one case in a vacuum, or talk about taking away the personal responsibility component from criminal actions.”

CBSA communications officer Kristine Wu said the agency places “the highest priority on removal cases involving national security, organized crime, crimes against humanity and criminals.”

“Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law,” she said. “Our position is clear: Once all avenues of recourse are exhausted, the person must leave Canada or be removed.”

One of those the CBSA is currently trying to deport is long-time Kelowna resident David Roger Revell, a former Hells Angel associate convicted in 2008 of conspiracy to traffic cocaine after a massive RCMP undercover operation targeting the biker gang. He was sentenced to five years.

Then in 2013, he pleaded guilty to two assault charges in a domestic violence case involving a former girlfriend and was sentenced to two years probation.

Revell, a father and grandfather who now works in Alberta, was born in England and was brought to Canada as a 10-year-old in 1974. Like Van Heest, he never got Canadian citizenship. Unlike Van Heest, his convictions are unrelated to mental illness.

Revell argued to the Immigration and Refugee Board last year that he never would have pleaded guilty in the assault case if he had known it would lead the CBSA to renew a review of his admissibility that had been on hold after the 2008 conviction.

“According to Mr. Revell, he pled guilty to simply put an end to proceedings that were requiring him to travel back and forth from Fort McMurray to Kelowna,” Immigration and Refugee Board member Marc Tessler noted in a July 2016 ruling. “According to Mr. Revell, if he had received a warning letter, he would never have pled guilty.”

Tessler agreed with Revell’s evidence that his deportation to England would have a “profound” impact on him.

“He has lived in Canada for 42 years and has only known Canada as home,” Tessler said.

But Tessler rejected Revell’s claims that his Charter rights had been violated and ordered him deported.

Revell has now asked the Federal Court to review Tessler’s decision. A hearing is set in Vancouver for May.

Revell’s lawyer Lorne Waldman said he plans to again argue that his client’s Charter rights would be violated by his deportation and that “Canadian jurisprudence should begin to acknowledge that it is just unacceptable to remove someone from the only country he’s ever really known.”

“The issue now that is coming before the court is: Are there circumstances in which it might be a violation of a person’s right to life, liberty and security of person to send that person away from a place where he has lived most of his life?”

Waldman, who is based in Toronto, said he has been inundated with calls from people living in Canada for decades who now find themselves in a similar situation to Revell and Van Heest.

“What they’ve done is they have significantly increased the number of long-term permanent residents that are being deported because the threshold now is so low,” he said. “It has had a fairly dramatic impact and that’s why we are seeing such a large number of cases now moving forward.”

Source: The Deported: Hundreds of B.C. criminals without citizenship shipped out | Vancouver Sun

Refugee board’s plea for assistance with growing backlog ignored: Assessment of Budget 2017 Immigration-related policies and programmes

As usual, the Star and Nicholas Keung provide the best coverage:

Despite a worsening backlog and surging number of land-border asylum claims via the U.S., the beleaguered Immigration and Refugee Board will not be getting any relief from the Liberal government.

Although the 2017 budget provides $62.9 million over five years — and $11.5 million per year thereafter — for legal aid services for asylum claimants, it ignored a recent plea from IRB chair Mario Dion for additional money to deal with its rising backlog of refugee claims, which is expected to hit 30,000 cases this year.

“It is discouraging,” said Janet Dench of the Canadian Council for Refugees. “We are expecting the number of claims to go up dramatically. This is going to hurt everybody.”

The number of refugees arriving in Canada went up by 48 per cent to 5,520 in the first two months of this year, including 2,145 who crossed the land border via the United States.

Instead of ensuring there is money to hire enough refugee judges to hear asylum claims, the government said it will spend $29 million in the next five years to make permanent an unpopular “reviews and interventions pilot project.”

Launched in 2012, the project assigns representatives from the Canada Border Services Agency and the Immigration Department to intervene in refugee hearings by raising concerns over the credibility of claims.

A 2015 internal evaluation of the program identified operational challenges because of causes confusion and redundancy around responsibilities between the two government departments.

“It is inefficient, wasteful intervention that causes delays. Their submissions are often poorly thought out,” Dench said.

On the immigration front, critics said little change was made to improve the temporary foreign worker program, other than a new permit exemption for short-duration work terms for intercompany exchanges, study exchanges or the entrance of temporary expertise.

The budget also proposes to eliminate the $1,000 labour market impact assessment for families seeking to hire foreign caregivers to care for people with high medical needs and for families with less than $150,000 in annual income looking for a nanny.

“The problem with the temporary foreign worker program is it’s been poorly managed. It’s not about writing stricter rules but actually investing into the system to vet and make sure the rules are followed. The government needs to step up on the expenditures for enforcement,” said Professor Jeffrey Reitz, director of ethnic, immigration and pluralism studies at the Munk School of Global Affairs.

Chris Ramsaroop of Justicia for Migrant Workers, a grassroots advocacy group, said the budget fails to address the vulnerabilities faced by foreign workers in Canada.

“The refusal to implement a policy of permanent residency on arrival for migrants send a strong message that Canada refuses to acknowledge the invaluable social and economic contributions that migrant workers provide toward our society,” he said.

Also missing are additional resources to address immigration backlogs for qualified live-in caregivers applying for permanent residency and family reunification for parents and grandparents, said MP Jenny Kwan, immigration critic for the opposition NDP.

“The processing time is taking so long that for many families, their medical, criminal and security checks have expired,” said Kwan. “Canada is contributing to breaking up families.”

Source: Refugee board’s plea for assistance with growing backlog ignored | Toronto Star

Nearly half of Canadians support deporting people who are in Canada illegally, poll finds

Not surprising, one of the factors that underlies overall Canadian support for immigration is that the public perceives this as managed and controlled. Irregular arrivals undermine that trust:

Undocumented immigrants in the United States are fleeing to Canada. But Canadians may not want them, a new survey finds.

Nearly half of Canadians support “increasing the deportation of people living in Canada illegally,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Monday.

The same share said they supported sending migrants that crossed from the United States right back over the border, while just 36 percent said Canada should accept them and let them apply for refugee status.

Read more:Trump, tighter air travel rules behind surge of refugees at Canada-U.S. border, experts say

The popular sentiment could pose a challenge to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who champions a pro-refugee and pro-immigration policy as a stark foil to U.S. President Donald Trump.

Trump’s anti-immigrant “build-a-wall” rhetoric helped launch him into the White House, but since getting there, he has faced significant political backlash and legal scrutiny over his policies.

The debate is spilling over into Canada, where Trudeau is taking a political hit for keeping his country’s door opento refugees and immigrants.

Forty-six percent of poll respondents disagreed with how Trudeau is handling immigration, while 37 per cent agreed.
The poll shows the national debate on immigration is heating up. Nearly a quarter of Canadians believe immigration-control is a leading national issue, compared to 19 per cent in a December poll.

Some 40 per cent thought accepting those fleeing from the United States could make Canada less safe.

Undocumented immigrants began fleeing to Canada in record numbers after Trump’s political rise.

In 2016, 1,222 fled the United States to Quebec alone, a five-fold increase.

Source: Nearly half of Canadians support deporting people who are in Canada illegally, poll finds | Toronto Star

Trump Making ‘Nativist’ Group’s Wish List a Reality – The Daily Beast

Disturbing and part of a pattern:

On April 11, 2016, a tiny think tank with a bland name published a 79-point wish list. The list garnered virtually no media coverage, and in the 11 months since its publication has been largely ignored—except, apparently, by the White House.

Today, Donald Trump seems to be working through it as he rolls out his immigration policy. A number of the 79 items on the list composed by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), have either been implemented or shown up in leaked draft proposals from the administration. It’s a course of events that has that think tank cautiously exultant and has immigrants’ rights activists anxious and disturbed.

CIS is one of the most vocal groups supporting increased detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants. It played a key role in torpedoing the 2013 Gang of 8 comprehensive immigration reform bill, and is a long-time favorite of Jeff Sessions and Stephen Miller.

Its newfound influence isn’t just on paper and in policy.

Mark Krikorian, CIS’s executive director, told The Daily Beast that last month, for the first time, his group scored an invite to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement stakeholder meeting, a gathering that happens a few times a year where ICE leaders talk policy and procedure with immigration lawyers and activists. And he said that since Trump’s inauguration, he’s been in touch with new appointees at the Department of Homeland Security. It’s a new level of access and influence that helps explain the quick, dramatic changes Trump has made in immigration policy—changes that will impact millions of people.

“We’re a think tank,” Krikorian said. “Our job is to put stuff out there. Our job is to put a message in a bottle and hope somebody finds it.”

It’s been found.

Just 50 days into his presidency, and Trump’s team has already discussed, proposed, or implemented upwards of a dozen of CIS’s ideas.

For instance, the 29th item on CIS’s list calls for detention of people coming to the U.S. seeking asylum.

“Doing so will restore integrity to an out-of-control system that encourages both border surges and asylum fraud,” the memo reads.

Feb. 21 memo from the Department of Homeland Security laid out how the department is working to quickly expand detention of undocumented immigrants, including asylum seekers….

In some cases, the president’s executive orders all but lift language from CIS’s list. For instance, this is the 65th item on the CIS list:

“Rescind all outstanding ‘prosecutorial discretion’ policies; eliminate the ‘Priority Enforcement Program’, and reinstitute Secure Communities.”

And this appeared in Trump’s Jan. 25 executive order:

“The Secretary shall immediately take all appropriate action to terminate the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) described in the memorandum issued by the Secretary on November 20, 2014, and to reinstitute the immigration program known as ‘Secure Communities’ referenced in that memorandum.”

The Priority Enforcement Program directed ICE agents to focus their enforcement on undocumented immigrants who had convicted crimes. Now that PEP is toast, most undocumented immigrants in the U.S. are targets for deportation….

And the controversial VOICE office Trump announced at his speech to Congress—which would provide special advocacy and support to Americans hurt by crimes committed by undocumented immigrants—may have had its genesis with CIS. Item number 72 on their list calls for the creation of a “victims advocacy unit” responsible for “providing services to those who have been victimized by illegal alien criminals.”

Krikorian predicted an imminent step from the Trump administration could be worksite raids targeting places of employment for undocumented immigrants. That hasn’t happened yet on a widespread level, he added, but the president could direct it.

“It’s still early, so I expect stuff like that’s going to happen,” he said. “In a sense, that’s the next thing that I’d be looking for.”

And Krikorian’s group has more access than ever to the people who make immigration policy decisions. He said that in February, a representative from the group attended one of the stakeholder meetings that ICE has with immigration advocates several times per year. For CIS, it was a big first: Obama’s DHS had shown zero appetite to have CIS at the table for those meetings, which address wonky procedural issues like how immigrants are transported between detention facilities, how much access attorneys have to them, and how bond gets handled. Meeting participants include the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the American Bar Association’s immigration project, and immigrants’ rights advocates. And, now, CIS—a leading proponent of increased detention and deportation.

CIS isn’t the only restrictionist group to find newly open ears at DHS. Dan Stein, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told The Daily Beast his group was also invited to the meeting as well (though he added it received meeting invites from the Obama administration too). Stein said his group has found the Trump administration to be very open to their ideas.

“As you might imagine, the communication is much better now, and people are asking us to attend all kinds of different meetings,” he said. “FAIR is a very important organization for explaining to people the purposes and strategies behind various administration strategies, and quite naturally the administration would have an interest in making sure we understood the information and properly explain it to people if we’re asked. When I go on CNN to explain the trump travel ban, I expect to have somebody explain it to me in a way I understand.”

And Roy Beck, who heads NumbersUSA—a restrictionist group that boasts a 1.5 million-member email list—said his organization was invited to the ICE stakeholder meeting as well, and has found open ears in the Trump administration, particularly DHS.

“What they’re trying to do meshes with what our organization has always tried to do,” he told The Daily Beast.

These three groups share a co-founder: John Tanton, a population control activist who flirted with racist pseudo-science, supported Planned Parenthood, and argued that immigration and population growth were bad for the environment. Immigrants’ rights advocates argue that the groups are covertly white supremacist and motivated by animus towards people of color. These groups, meanwhile, argue that activists who support immigrants’ rights are secretly in the pocket of corporate interests looking to drive down wages by bringing in immigrants willing to work for less than native-born Americans.

David Leopold, who formerly headed AILA, told The Daily Beast he found CIS’s invitation unsettling.

“I don’t know what the Center for Immigration Studies would be doing there honestly,” he said. “I don’t know why they would be there. What business do they have there? Do they represent people in proceedings? What business does Mark Krikorian have at the ICE liaison committee meeting?”

And Frank Sharry, who heads the activist group America’s Voice, said he shared those concerns and found CIS’s invitation “very disturbing.”

“You have this nativist cabal that has been on the outside looking in for 25 years and now they’re on the inside looking out, and they’re going to have outsized influence,” he said. “In fact, you could say that these groups—CIS and their fellow travelers—are going to own what the Trump administration does on immigration and refugee policy. I’m sure that makes them very happy. I think it should make the country alarmed.”

Source: Trump Making ‘Nativist’ Group’s Wish List a Reality – The Daily Beast

Anxious about immigration? Here’s some food for thought – Geddes

Another good piece by John Geddes, with this excellent summary of the data and evidence from the latest OECD immigrant indicators report.

I am a great fan of these reports (used it for the above summary table in Multiculturalism in Canada: Evidence and Anecdote) and am using it to prepare for an upcoming seminar in Copenhagen.

I generally find these data based comparisons more informative than the policy comparison indexes like MIPEX or the Multiculturalism Policy Index although both, of course, are helpful to understanding and discussion.

As with previous and other studies, the sharp contrast between immigration-based countries, particularly Canada, Australia, New Zealand and to a lesser extent, the USA, is striking:

All those images of border-crossing migrants, and swaggering tough talk about what to do about them from some federal Conservative leadership aspirants, have prompted a lot of discussion about how Canada absorbs newcomers, and if we do it differently, maybe better, than other countries.

My colleague Scott Gilmore warned here that we should brace for anti-immigrant populism to rise in Canada, as it has in other countries after the immigrant portion of their populations reached a certain level. I reported here on research that suggests that where immigrants tend to live in Canada, and how they vote, makes the path to political power steeper for right-leaning populists in this country than in the U.S. and Europe.

No matter how you see the issue, understanding how immigrants fare in Canada suddenly seems essential—if the debate is going to be about more than hunches. If you’re really gripped by the subject, you might want to take a look at “Indicators of Immigrant Integration 2015: Settling In,” by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.” Here’s some of what jumped out at me from that study of the OECD’s 35 member countries [I have only listed the titles, the article has charts and narrative – well worth reviewing]:

  1. The Big Picture

  2. Recent Change and Stability

  3. Points of Origin Vary

  4. A Gender Gap

  5. Credentialed Newcomers

  6. Second-Generation Acceleration

  7. But Catching Up Isn’t Easy

  8. … And Some Will Stall

Source: Anxious about immigration? Here’s some food for thought – Macleans.ca

Why are so many Hungarians deported? A look at Canada’s ‘Unwelcome Index’ 

The Globe continues to impress me with some of its serious evidence-based reporting (e.g., unfounded sexual assault cases by police department) with this being another good example of reporting by obtaining and analyzing data and explaining what it means:

The U.S. government’s determined efforts to restrict immigration and the number of refugees entering the country has invited comparisons with Canada, heralded by some (including The Economist) as a last bastion of openness among Western countries. But Canada has its own apparatus for ejecting the unwelcome; the Canada Border Services Agency is charged with removing people who don’t meet entry requirements.

To understand who Canada deports, and why, The Globe and Mail requested data from CBSA showing total removals by year, broken out by citizenship, the destination to which the person was sent and justifications for these removals. The data shows Canada removed Hungarian citizens in disproportionate numbers over the past few years. The story of those thousands of unwelcome people contrasts with international perceptions of Canada’s warm embrace of foreigners.


The unwelcome

The CBSA ejects thousands of people annually. However, the data doesn’t reveal much about why those people were removed: By far the most common official justification was “non-compliance,” a sweeping category. Fewer than 10 per cent of removals cited criminality, the second most common justification.

A clearer picture emerges when one examines the citizenship of removed persons: Hungarians topped the removals list during the five-year period from 2012 to 2016.

It is perhaps unsurprising to discover large numbers of Americans and Chinese on the list: Both countries rank among the world’s most populous, and the United States and Canada share the world’s longest border between two countries. Mexico has been a major source of immigrants, and also refugee claimants: The government of prime minister Stephen Harper responded in the late 2000s by imposing new visa requirements on Mexican visitors; removals surged.

Hungary is less populous than those countries, and distant to boot. What gives?

Hungary stands out even more when one compares numbers of removals with numbers of people of the same citizenship accepted as permanent residents. The result is a crude sort of “Unwelcome Index.” Between 2011 and 2015, more than three removal orders were issued for every Hungarian granted permanent-resident status.


Backstory of an exodus

Most Hungarians removed during this period were Roma, explained Sean Rehaag, an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto who specializes in immigration law. Studying a random sample of 96 decisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board between 2008 and 2012 involving Hungarian claimants, Mr. Rehaag and his colleagues found 85 per cent involved Roma.

Roma comprise Hungary’s largest ethnic minority. There, they encounter “discrimination and exclusion on a regular basis” concerning education, employment, housing, health and much else, according to a 2014 report by Harvard University’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights. The late 2000s witnessed the rise of right-wing political parties and paramilitaries, accompanied by increasing rhetoric, rallies and attacks directed at Roma. Many Roma sought asylum abroad; thousands arrived in Canada after it lifted visa requirements on Hungarians in 2008.

Gina Csanyi-Robah, a teacher and human-rights activist with Hungarian Roma roots met many applicants in her capacity as executive director of the Roma Community Centre in Toronto, and also at Toronto schools. They fled Hungary because they were “scared that their home was going to be burned down,” Ms. Csanyi-Robah said. “Tired of their children getting beaten up at school and put into segregated classes. Tired of being subjected to verbal, psychological, physical violence when they left their homes.”

 Source: Why are so many Hungarians deported? A look at Canada’s ‘Unwelcome Index’ – The Globe and Mail

ICYMI: Government called ‘heartless’ for deporting 59-year-old bipolar man who came to Canada as baby

It is. Doesn’t acknowledge that Canada is responsible for him, not the Netherlands:

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen is facing calls to reverse the deportation of a 59-year-old man with bipolar disorder who lived in Canada since he was eight months old.

Len Van Heest of Courtenay, B.C., was deported to the Netherlands this week after a string of criminal convictions for uttering threats, mischief and assault that his lawyer says were linked to his mental illness.

His brother Daniel Van Heest expressed his anger at judges and immigration officials who allowed the deportation to happen. He said his brother is now in the care of family in the Netherlands with the help of the Salvation Army.

“Needless to say his mental faculties have been stressed to the max,” he said. “The system is skewed. Mentally ill people should never be deported. It is wrong.”

Lawyer Peter Golden said Van Heest’s parents didn’t seek citizenship for him. The last time he was in the Netherlands he was in diapers, he doesn’t speak Dutch and doesn’t know his relatives there.

“However kind and well-meaning they are, the stresses of this whole process of removal will be difficult for him. He hasn’t made connections with people very easily in the past.”

Van Heest was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 16, said Golden. By the time he was old enough to seek citizenship for himself, he had a criminal record and could not apply.

His last conviction was in 2012. He has been ordered removed from Canada in the past but has previously won stays on deportation, Golden said.

In January, a Federal Court judge rejected Van Heest’s challenge of a Canada Border Services Agency officer refusing to defer his removal order. Last week he lost a last-ditch attempt for a stay, and on Monday he was deported to Amsterdam.

“It’s really an example of criminalization of mental illness,” said Golden. “The criminal justice system isn’t designed to deal with people like Len.”

He said Van Heest was ensnared by legislation introduced by the former Conservative government in 2012, which banned non-citizens from appealing deportation after being sentenced to six months in jail. Previously, people could appeal if they were sentenced to less than two years.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada was unable to respond to questions Wednesday.

The man’s 81-year-old mother, Trixie Van Heest, who Golden said has a very close relationship with her son, sounded distraught when reached by phone. She said she could not talk about the matter anymore and hung up.

Source: Government called ‘heartless’ for deporting 59-year-old bipolar man who came to Canada as baby | National Post

Le rêve brisé de candidats à l’immigration – change in selection process

Understandable reaction, given retroactivity and that the fees will apparently not be reimbursed:

Rétroactives, les nouvelles règles du ministère de l’Immigration pour sélectionner les travailleurs qualifiés affecteront près de 30 000 dossiers, a appris Le Devoir. Dans le lot, les demandeurs qui ne se qualifieront plus en vertu de la nouvelle pondération de la grille de sélection seront rejetés, sans le remboursement des quelque 1000 dollars payés pour déposer une demande.

« C’est une façon inhumaine de traiter les gens. Ce n’est pas la première fois que le MIDI [ministère de l’Immigration, de la Diversité et de l’Inclusion] utilise cette tactique et qu’il change les règles du jeu. C’est désolant », s’est indigné Jean-Sébastien Boudreault, président de l’Association québécoise des avocats et des avocates en droit de l’immigration (AQAADI). « Ce qui est encore plus troublant et alarmant, c’est que ces gens-là se qualifiaient, ont payé des sommes importantes et ne seront pas remboursés. Ils se voient voler. »

Photo: David Afriat Le DevoirLa ministre de l’Immigration, Kathleen Weill

Sur des forums d’échanges, certains aspirants immigrants crient à la fraude. « Je trouve ça assez honteux de faire ça rétroactivement. Certains vont se retrouver en dessous du seuil et leur rêve et leur argent partiront en fumée… », peut-on lire sur Immigrer.com. « Difficile à avaler. Notre rêve du Québec s’éloigne. On était déjà juste… Alors avec ça… », écrit un Français ayant déposé une demande. « Il risque d’y avoir une ribambelle de rejets à la suite de la mise en place de cette grille. »

Pour l’heure, il est toutefois impossible de dire combien de demandes seront rejetées, faute d’un nombre suffisant de points. Mais selon Jean-Sébastien Boudreault, le ministère profite largement de cette situation. Si 10 000 demandes sont rejetées, le gouvernement aura encaissé « 10 millions sur le dos des immigrants, rien qu’en changeant les règles du jeu », déplore-t-il. L’avocat estime que ces dernières années, le ministère a refusé des « quantités astronomiques » de dossiers. « Ce sont des milliers de dossiers rejetés par année. Des gens voient leur dossier fermé pour des détails ou des changements de règles, dit-il. Ils n’ont aucun recours. »

Nouvelles règles

Ce qui choque tant les candidats à l’immigration dans ce changement de pointage, c’est qu’ils ont déposé et payé leur demande en ayant préalablement mesuré leurs chances d’être sélectionnés grâce à un formulaire d’« évaluation préliminaire » en ligne qui leur permet de calculer leurs points. Ensuite, le travailleur qualifié doit débourser 773 $ et 166 $ pour chaque membre de sa famille, conjoint(e) ou enfant. L’obtention du Certificat de sélection du Québec (CSQ) prend six mois au minimum, parfois plusieurs années.

En vertu des nouvelles règles en vigueur depuis mercredi, qui s’appliquent rétroactivement à toutes les demandes qui étaient en attente de traitement, le système de pointage a été ajusté pour donner plus de points à des personnes parlant le français. En revanche, on attribue moins de points dans certains domaines de formation et plus aucun point pour les candidats ayant un diplôme secondaire professionnel ou un diplôme postsecondaire technique et à ceux détenant une formation dans un domaine recherché au Québec.

Source: Le rêve brisé de candidats à l’immigration | Le Devoir