Saturday, July 18, 2009

My refugee streamlining proposal

I personally think that most refugee applicants to Canada can be processed between 48 to 72 hours (not including weekends and holidays). Here is what I would propose:

When a refugee applicant arrives at an airport or another port of entry, the applicant will be interviewed by an immigration officer who will record all the details provided by the applicant.

If the immigration officer determines that the applicant has a credible case for refugee status he/she may release the applicant into Canada. Within 48 to 72 hours, that applicant will need to present his/her case in front of a two-person refugee board who will decide on the case. If the applicant convinces one of the two board members, that applicant will be admitted as a refugee because at least two of the three people (an immigration officer and one board member) who will have heard the applicant will have approved the applicant's admission.

If the immigration officer determines that the applicant does not have a credible case for refugee status, he/she may recommend deportation. If the applicant agrees to leave, the file is closed. If the applicant disagrees, the immigration officer may detain the applicant to be held at the nearest immigration facility. Within 48 to 72 hours, the applicant will present his/her case in front of a two-person refugee board who will decide on the case. The applicant will need to convince both board members in order to be admitted as a refugee because the immigration officer was originally not convinced of the applicant's claim.

If a visitor who has already entered Canada legally decides to apply for refugee status, he/she will have his/her case heard by a two-person refugee board. The refugee applicant will need to convince both members in order to be admitted to Canada as a refugee.

Statistically, it would be better for a person to apply for refugee status as at a port of entry. The odds of receiving refugee status would be 50% as three people would ultimately determine one's status (YYY, YYN, YNY, NYY, YNN, NYN, NNY, NNN). By applying after entry, the applicant will only have a statistical 25% success rate (YY, YN, NY, NN).

An unsuccessful applicant can appeal a board's decision. The applicant will need to remember that he/she may remain or be detain until the appeal has be decided.

At any time an applicant can end a refugee claim and leave Canada voluntarily.

In the case of a Roma from the Czech Republic applying for refugee status, If I were an immigration officer or refugee board member, I would ask the applicant why he or she didn't just move to another Schengen agreement EU country as the international borders are open among Schengen countries. If the applicant could not convince me that he/she would face persecution in the other Schengen countries, I would reject the claim.

I think these steps would help cut down on the number of refugee claims from the Czech Republic and Mexico. We should be able to restore visa-free travel by Czech and Mexican citizens to Canada.