Kenney's right: Our Refugee System is Broken...
The government needs to show some courage here - very few refugee claimants are legitimate...
Canada’s refugee system is broken, with unacceptably long delays to determine whether someone is a legitimate refugee, says Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.
Testifying before a Parliamentary committee Tuesday, Kenney said he is working on plans to overhaul the system and hopes to introduce the changes before Christmas.
“This is a broken system and it needs to be streamlined,” Kenney told MPs, saying he wants to weed false claimants out quickly so Canada can do more to help those who truly need asylum.
Kenney promised refugees will still get an oral hearing before a decision maker and he suggested the IRB, which now makes the primary decision on refugee claims, could hear appeals.
The decision will not be made by Canada Border Services officers at points of entry, he said.
Kenney said the backlog of refugee claims had reached 61,000 by the end of June 2009. The Immigration and Refugee Board can only hear up to 25,000 asylum claims a year, and unsuccessful claimants can end up spending years in Canada before they exhaust all possible appeals.
The average refugee claim costs $29,000 in processing costs and social benefits, he said.
Kenney said the growing backlog prompted the government to impose visas on tourists from Mexico and the Czech Republic last summer. Since then, refugee claims from the two countries, which had accounted for 50% of refugee claims, have slowed to a trickle. For example, the government has received 35 asylum claims from Mexico, down from 1,287 in the two-and-a-half months prior to the announcement.