Welcoming Palestinian refugees | The reception limit of 1000 criticized

(Ottawa) The ceiling of 1,000 temporary Gazan refugees that Canada proposes to welcome is too low, and the program should be expanded to allow Palestinians from the West Bank to flee the violence, argues a Liberal MP.


A few days before the special program comes into force, on January 9, elected official Salma Zahid wrote to the federal Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marc Miller, to suggest some adjustments.

PHOTO SPENCER COLBY, CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVES

Liberal MP Salma Zahid

“We are concerned that program levels are not sufficient in relation to the number of people with close ties to Canada who could obtain temporary refuge here,” says the MP in her missive on Friday.

She also argues that the West Bank, where extremist Israeli settlers commit violence against Palestinians condemned by Canada, should be included in the special migration policy.

Before the MP, the organization Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East also called for the limit of 1,000 applications to be abandoned. This threshold is “completely arbitrary and unjustifiable”, and it should be removed, it was demanded on Thursday.

The group at the same time denounced the asymmetry between the program and the emergency travel measures put in place to welcome Ukrainians — as of November 28, 2023, nearly 940,000 requests had been approved.

“Forcing Canadians and their loved ones in Gaza to compete for a small number of visas based on an arbitrary shortage demonstrates a real lack of humanity,” said Michael Bueckert, vice president of the ‘organization.

The two programs must take into account completely different realities. Right now in Gaza it is essentially impossible to go out. On the Ukrainian side, freedom of movement is not hindered in this way.

The eligibility criteria are also not the same: the Ukrainian program is not limited to family members of Canadians, as is the case for the Gazan plan.

A limit that is not firm

When he unveiled these measures on December 21, Minister Miller insisted on the fact that they were expected to evolve.

The limit of 1000 people mentioned in the decree published on December 29 is therefore not necessarily set in stone, the Ministry of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) has also suggested.

“Admission ceilings (…) are a common practice in public policies. IRCC must monitor and review the volumes of applications received once the application portal opens on January 9,” wrote spokesperson Matthew Krupovich.

“We need to see what the interest is, the approval numbers and the capacity to help eligible family members leave Gaza and reach a safe third country,” he added, arguing that it We must resist the temptation to compare programs with each other.


reference: www.lapresse.ca

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