Canada is planning to welcome 11,000 migrants from Colombia, Haiti, and Venezuela starting this fall, as reported by Immigration Minister Marc Miller. This move is part of a bigger plan that was revealed prior this year in March when Canada committed to accepting 15,000 migrants from the Western Hemisphere within the year.
On Tuesday, Miller shared details of a “new humanitarian permanent residence pathway” for migrants from these three countries. He stated that starting this fall, Colombian, Haitian, and Venezuelan foreign nationals residing in Central or South America or the Caribbean will be eligible to apply if they have extended family connections in Canada.
Eligible family connections include children, grandchildren, spouses, common-law partners, parents, grandparents, or siblings of Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Those accepted into the program will receive “enhanced pre-arrival services,” which include employment skills assessments and referrals to settlement provider organizations within their intended communities.
Miller highlighted the ongoing global displacement crisis and emphasized Canada’s commitment to providing safe alternatives for migrants facing dangerous situations like crossing the Darien Gap. By working closely with the United States, the Canadian government expects these measures to help control irregular migration while promoting secure migration options.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at first reported Canada’s intention to welcome 15,000 migrants from the Americas on March 23. This announcement came just two days before the Safe Third Country Agreement was expanded along the whole U.S.-Canada border. Under this agreement, asylum seekers must request asylum in the first of the two countries they arrive in; it is illegal for them to enter another country and seek asylum there.
In June 2023, the Supreme Court of Canada deemed the agreement constitutional and not in violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms – concerning life, liberty, and security. Opponents had argued that the legislation violated these rights, as the United States may not be a safe destination for many asylum seekers. The Canadian government, however, maintained that the returnees have access to fair asylum and detention processes in the U.S.
Last year, Canada received 20,891 refugee claims from individuals who crossed the border outside of an official border crossing point. In the first three months of 2023, before the Safe Third Country Agreement’s extension, Canada recorded 14,192 refugee claims from irregular border crossers.
The Canadian government’s ongoing debate with the Supreme Court highlights their differing perspectives on the safety and fairness of asylum and detention processes for returnees in the United States. Despite recognizing the risks refugees face, the court contends that there are sufficient safety measures in place within the current legislation.
Activists like Gauri Sreenivasan from the Canadian Council for Refugees continue to urge Canada to withdraw from the agreement, stressing that overwhelming evidence shows that sending asylum seekers back to the U.S. results in violations of both Canadian and international law protections. Ultimately, the recent expansion of this agreement has closed off previously viable options for potential asylum seekers, such as Roxham Road in Quebec, further limiting their opportunities to seek safety in Canada.
Disclaimer: This article is exclusively written and published by IntraSource for information purposes only. The information provided here is sourced from “Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC),” but it should not be considered legal or professional advice. Immigration requirements and processes may change, so it’s essential to consult professionals before making any decisions or applications.