Canadian Press: Budget 2023: Liberals follow through on big promises in deal with NDP
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
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.”
UBCIC JOINT LETTER: Urgent Housing Crisis Emergency
IN THE NEWS: National Oberserver - Ontario tribunal ruled DNA collection from migrant workers was a human rights abuse
IN THE NEWS: CBC - Afghan advisers who helped Canada’s military say gov’t has further delayed rescue of families from Taliban
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: The News Forum - MP Jenny Kwan on Ottawa's "Disgraceful" Treatment of Afghans Fleeing the Taliban
MP Jenny Kwan rebuting the Immigration Minister in this tv interview
IN THE NEWS: Global - Ex-B.C. journalist and democracy activist placed on Chinese ‘wanted’ list
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
“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.