We live in an interconnected world, and events transpiring worldwide ultimately affects Canadians, whether we are speaking about economic trade, global prices of goods and commodities, knowledge and skills exchange, effects of climate change, disease transmission and control, natural disaster management, and others. Fulfilling our international obligations protects and serves the interests of Canadians. 

People fleeing war, persecution or natural disasters face tremendous barriers to obtaining necessary travel documents. For this reason, I have been advocating for visa-free travel for urgent, life-and-death situations such as the war in Ukraine. I have also been advocating for the government to rescind the safe third country agreement because often, refugees cannot get to safety without first going to a third country. It is paramount that Canada has an adequately resourced immigration system that can act with flexibility and expediency in times of crisis without compromising national security standards.

As your Member of Parliament, I will fight to ensure Canada fulfills its humanitarian and environmental obligations as a member of the international community.

OPEN LETTER: The disastrous state of IRCC

OPEN LETTER: The disastrous state of IRCC

It is with grave concerns that we write to you as the leader of the New Democratic Party, as the NDP critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, and as Caucus Chair, to demand immediate action to address the ongoing system-wide delays and utter chaos at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). It’s important to remember that these are more than just files in a system, each application number corresponds to an individual and delays often have profound and expensive effects on their lives and prevents loved ones from being able to reunite.
One of the highest demands at a MP office is on immigration-related issues. Sadly, IRCC is in complete chaos with over 2 million applications stuck in the backlog that continues to escalate. The unprecedented massive delays in processing in virtually every immigration stream is far beyond a few months above processing standards, whether it’s a permanent resident application, family reunification, renewal of CoPRs, verification of citizenship, work permit or study permit application or renewal, PR card renewal, or refugee applications. Applicants are informed of a processing timeline, only to have it changed months later. The Canadian Council for Refugees latest report highlights the dire backlog and slow processing times for permanent residence of those who have received refugee protection in Canada. For some, the threats are so severe that it’s a matter of life and death. Meanwhile, thousands of Afghans who have previously assisted Canada’s missions abroad are left behind and are being hunted down by the Taliban.

IN THE NEWS: CP24 - More than 1.3M immigration applications in backlog amid humanitarian crises

NDP Immigration critic Jenny Kwan said the minister's optimism is of little comfort to people who have spent months or even years languishing in the system.
“I find it astounding that the minister would talk glowingly about the work that he's doing, meanwhile, there's so many people who are struggling, who are suffering as a result of immigration processing delays,” Kwan said in an interview.
She wrote a joint letter with NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to express their concerns about the “utter chaos” at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

IN THE NEWS: Hill Times - Advocates, politicos urge feds to lead on ending 'appalling practice' of immigrant detention

IN THE NEWS: Hill Times - Advocates, politicos urge feds to lead on ending 'appalling practice' of immigrant detention

NDP MP Jenny Kwan (Vancouver East, B.C.), her party’s immigration critic, told The Hill Times that it is “absolutely appalling” that the government continues to hold immigrants and asylum seekers indefinitely, affording more due process to violent offenders, and that she was “delighted” to see the B.C. government end the practice in the province.
Kwan also said that the pandemic had further shown that the government was detaining many of them needlessly, pointing to the fact that CBSA released detainees in their centres to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“It shows that it’s absolutely unnecessary,” Kwan said.  While creating added oversight for CBSA was a “step in the right direction” for Kwan, she said the government still needs to “get its house in order” to ensure complete transparency and accountability for the agency.
“[The NDP] has had a bill calling for independent oversight of CBSA forever now, and the Liberals just do not have the wherewithal to see that bill to fruition,” Kwan said. “But every time they call an unnecessary election, the bill dies on the Order Paper; lather, rinse, repeat.”

IN THE NEWS: National Oberserver - Ontario tribunal ruled DNA collection from migrant workers was a human rights abuse

IN THE NEWS: National Oberserver - Ontario tribunal ruled DNA collection from migrant workers was a human rights abuse

While the decision is undoubtedly positive for migrant workers, it doesn’t address the underlying causes of the abuse migrant workers face, Jenny Kwan, NDP critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship, told Canada’s National Observer.
“What the NDP wants the government to do is provide all migrant workers with permanent resident status on arrival, so that when they land here in Canada, they have their rights and they're protected,” said Kwan.
IN THE NEWS: CBC - Afghan advisers who helped Canada’s military say gov’t has further delayed rescue of families from Taliban

IN THE NEWS: CBC - Afghan advisers who helped Canada’s military say gov’t has further delayed rescue of families from Taliban

‘Blood will be on Canadian government’s hands,’ says federal NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan.
"These advisers wore the Canadian uniform, essential to Canada's missions, yet in their greatest time of need when families are in grave danger, the Canadian government says get through normal immigration process," Kwan said.  Extended family members are not eligible for the family sponsorship immigration route. Kwan noted that the processing times for regular immigration streams are very long.
Kwan said Canada is being racist. "Canada is using differential treatment for people in Afghanistan more than that of Ukraine, even though both are under siege and at great risk," she said. "Why is that? Is it the colour of their skin? Is that the prevailing reason? This is outright discrimination."
Kwan said the department can easily issue temporary residence visas or "single travel journey documents" for those families to expeditiously arrive in Canada.
"The government has to do what is necessary and our legal and moral responsibility," she said. "Knowing that many lives are threatened and we are not doing everything to bring them here to safety, blood will be on the Canadian government's hands."
IN THE NEWS: Global - Ex-B.C. journalist and democracy activist placed on Chinese ‘wanted’ list

IN THE NEWS: Global - Ex-B.C. journalist and democracy activist placed on Chinese ‘wanted’ list

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly, Vancouver-East MP Jenny Kwan and Edmonton-Strathcona MP Heather McPhereson said any application of the law to Ho was a violation of his rights protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
“Notwithstanding whatever his views are on how to address these issues (in Hong Kong), the critical issue is this: Here in Canada we have what we cherish very much, our charter rights,” Kwan told Global News in an interview, “our right to free speech, our right to free association, our rights to our beliefs and thoughts and the right for the freedom of the press.”
The Canadian government, she said, needs to be vocal about the rights of Ho and all other Canadians to free speech.
IN THE NEWS: Canadian Press - Thousand of Afghans who helped Canada trapped in Afghanistan, struggling to leave

IN THE NEWS: Canadian Press - Thousand of Afghans who helped Canada trapped in Afghanistan, struggling to leave

The federal government needs to do more to help thousands of Afghans who assisted Canadian Forces but remain trapped in Afghanistan a year after the Taliban seized Kabul, aid groups and opposition parties say.
As the grim anniversary passed Monday, NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan warned at a news conference that Canada will have blood on its hands if it does not take immediate action to help Afghans whose lives are in danger because they helped Canadians.
She called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to intervene to sort out “chaos” at the Immigration Department, which she said has still not processed many applications to come to Canada.
“No more excuses,” Kwan said. “We do not want to lose lives because if we do the blood is on the Canadian government’s hands.”

IN THE NEWS: Vancouver Sun - Ex-Vancouver newspaper editor of Sing Tao on Hong Kong’s wanted list

IN THE NEWS: Vancouver Sun - Ex-Vancouver newspaper editor of Sing Tao on Hong Kong’s wanted list

“We find this gravely concerning. Mr. Ho is a Canadian citizen, living in Canada. This is an intrusion on Mr. Ho’s legal rights, and any application of the National Security Law is a direct attack on this fundamental freedom of thought, belief, opinion, expression and assembly as protected by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” wrote Heather McPherson, MP for Edmonton-Strathcona, and Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver-East.

IN THE NEWS: Canadian Press - Canada less than halfway to Afghan resettlement goal one year after Taliban takeover

A year after the Taliban seized control of Kabul, Canada’s resettlement efforts have lagged behind official targets and the efforts to help those fleeing the war in Ukraine.  More than 17,300 Afghans have arrived in Canada since last August compared to 71,800 Ukrainians who have come to Canada in 2022 alone, according to government statistics. The federal government has promised to resettle 40,000 Afghans.
Canadian activists and MPs accuse the Liberals of not doing enough to help people who worked with the Canadian Forces in the country, including as interpreters.
They say some families are in hiding from the Taliban as they await approval of their immigration applications, while others have been split up, with children and spouses of applicants left behind.
New Democrat MP Jenny Kwan, who has been in contact with many Afghan refugees who worked with Canadian Forces, said there is a “stark difference” between the government’s treatment of those fleeing the Taliban and those fleeing the Russian invasion.  She said the situation for Afghans who helped Canada is “grave,” with many unable to escape the country and facing persecution by the Taliban.

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