Canada planning to increase expulsions of illegal immigrants

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is ‘trying to improve the immigration system and be more expeditious in handling cases.’ (AFP)
Updated 31 October 2018
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Canada planning to increase expulsions of illegal immigrants

  • Leaked email says the goal is to deport some 10,000 persons a year, as much as a 35 percent increase over recent years
  • Donald Trump’s election as US president triggered a spike in asylum seekers who have simply walked across the border into Canada

OTTAWA: Faced with an influx of asylum seekers from the United States, Canada is planning to substantially step up deportations of illegal migrants, Canada’s public broadcaster reported Wednesday.
A leaked email from a senior Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) official to staff, cited by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the goal is to deport some 10,000 persons a year, as much as a 35 percent increase over recent years.
CBSA enforcement director Brad Wozny wrote that in recent weeks he has “been involved in several discussions both regionally and nationally concerning the government of Canada’s decision to substantially increase removal efforts.”
“Initial discussions have the agency working toward a new national target of 10,000 removals/year,” he adds.
The CBC said 18,000 people, mostly failed refugee claimants, currently face deportation. So far this year 6,083 have been deported, compared to a total of 8,472 in 2017 and 18,987 in 2012.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government is “trying to improve the immigration system and be more expeditious in handling cases.”
Border Security Minister Bill Blair, meanwhile, confirmed that the government has “added additional resources to ensure that (the CBSA) has what they need to do the job.”
He noted that only asylum seekers who “have gone through all the legal processes of determining their eligibility for the protection of Canada” and been found “to have not been eligible are subject to removal.”
This hardening of the government’s position comes as Trudeau’s Liberals face increased political attacks ahead of next year’s election from opposition Tories, who accuse the government of mismanaging a migrant “crisis.”
Donald Trump’s election as US president triggered a spike in asylum seekers who have simply walked across the border into Canada, some braving biting cold and dangerous treks through the wilds.
According to the latest government data, more than 30,000 have come from the United States in search of asylum. Most were originally from Nigeria, Haiti, Turkey, Eritrea or Colombia.


Call for Kashmir shutdown on Sunday in protest against crackdown on activists

Updated 54 min 31 sec ago
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Call for Kashmir shutdown on Sunday in protest against crackdown on activists

  • India has beefed up security forces in Kashmir after last week's suicide attack in Pulwama
  • The attack, claimed by Kashmiri separatists, killed more than 40 Indian paramilitary troops

NEW DELHI: Separatist leaders in Kashmir have called for a shutdown on Sunday in protest against the “illegal detention” and “arbitrary arrest” of some of their colleagues and the deployment of an additional 12,000 troops in Kashmir valley.

In a strongly worded statement on Saturday the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) called the arrest of the senior separatist leader Yasin Malik and the crackdown on 200 Jamaat-e-Islami cadres and leadership, including its chief Ameer Abdul Hamid Fayaz,  “dictatorial” and “arbitrary.”
It said that “nocturnal raids across the valley look to be a part of the continued policy of suppression of pro self-determination leadership and narrative.”
“The last 30 years have shown that jailing and intimidating activists and leaders will not deter them from their path, nor will it stop people from demanding the resolution of the Kashmir dispute through self-determination,” said a statement issued by Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik.
The separatist leaders also condemned the pressure tactics being used by the government against some of the local media.
Amid the crackdown on the valley-based separatist leaders New Delhi has also started deploying 12,000 additional troops in the valley.
“We are keeping two things in mind — to control the situation emerging out of the arrests of the separatist leaders and to be ready to hold elections in the valley parallel to the national elections,” a senior officials in Srinagar told Arab News.
After last week’s Pulwama suicide attack that claimed more than 40 lives of paramilitary personnel in South Kashmir, there has been a considerable build-up of troops in the valley. 
The crackdown on the separatists coincides with the crucial hearing on Article 35-A in the Supreme Court on Monday. The article grants special rights and privileges to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, and has been challenged by a section of the Hindu right wing in the Supreme Court.
The nocturnal arrests of the activists and separatist leaders have come under criticism from the valley-based mainstream political parties.
“In the past 24 hours Hurriyat leaders and workers of the Jamaat organization have been arrested. Failure to understand such an arbitrary move which will only precipitate matters in Jammu and Kashmir,” said Mahbooba Mufti, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
She questioned “under what legal grounds are their arrests justified? You can imprison a person but not his ideas.”
The ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)’s ally in the valley Sajad Lone also questioned the wisdom of the crackdown.
“Large-scale arrests took place in 1990. Leaders were ferried to Jodhpur and many jails across the country. Things worsened. This is a failed model. Please desist from it. It won’t work. Things will worsen,” said Lone in a tweet.
However, Dr. Hina Bhat of the BJP justified the arrest of the Hurriyat separatist leaders.
“If you want to bring peace in Kashmir it is important to remove all the ingredients which are causing disturbance in the state, be it separatist or Jamiat,” said Bhat, a Kashmir-based leader.
“Why you think we should go and talk to militants who are killing their own people. We are not killing these separatist leaders, we are just removing them from the scene.”
“We have tried and gave enough chances for the dialogue process with Pakistan. What happens is that when we trust Pakistan we are backstabbed and we cannot trust Pakistan for a dialogue process,” he added.
She told Arab News that “the government is taking appropriate steps to bring back peace and life in the state.”
“The militants in the state are brainwashed individuals and they pick up guns because of their personal reasons not to fight for the cause of Kashmir. Youth are being misguided and brainwashed by the separatist leaders for their political agenda. They work as the agents of Pakistan,” asserted Bhat.
Kashmir-based analyst Professor Siddiq Wahid said that “Delhi is practicing a cynical policy at its best.”
“In the last 24 hours, the fog has cleared and it is becoming apparent that the BJP is spinning Pulwama in the interests of electoral politics. Their war-cry was to isolate Pakistan, so it has not succeeded because international support for this is non-existent. Yet it has successfully stirred the BJP base,” added Wahid.
He told Arab News that “Delhi continues its policy of denial of dispute and at the same time making the Kashmiri eminently more insecure in India. It is disastrous.”