Canada, relax the requirements of immigration programs for TPS / DACA protected persons.
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On January 27, 2018, the Latin American community in Canada formed a Coalition to address the issues of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) affecting Latinos in the United States.
The Coalition consists of community organizations and leaders including:
ASALCA (Salvadoran Canadian Association of Toronto)
Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples
Salvadoran Association of Kitchener
FCJ Refugee Centre
Hispanic Canadian Heritage Council
OCASI (Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants)
Lozano Law Office
Filici-Palacio Immigration Services
The Coalition’s objectives are::
To advocate on behalf of those affected by the elimination of TPS and DACA
To provide information about Canada’s immigration laws and programs to Latinos affected by the elimination of the TPS and DACA programs in the United States.
1. What potential impact will the elimination of the TPS and DACA programs in the United States have on Canada’s Immigration, social services, and housing?
2. What action can the Canadian government take to mitigate the potential impact in Canada due to the elimination of the TPS and DACA programs?
CURRENT SITUATION WITHIN THE U.S.
• This program provides temporary protected status to approximately 200,000 Salvadorians, 60,000 Hondurans, 57,000 Haitians, 2,500 Nicaraguans in the United States.
• This population has been able to live and work legally in the US under this program since 2001.
• The Trump administration announced that it is eliminating this program.
• The above mentioned population under this program must apply to obtain immigration status under other programs they may be eligible for or must abandon the US.
• This program allowed people who had entered or had stayed in the US with no status while they were minors to receive a 2-year grace period within which they could not be deported.
• Eligibility to the program was renewable every 2 years.
• The program benefitted approximately 800,000 people and allowed them to work.
• Created by President Obama in 2012, The Trump administration announced the elimination of DACA. No final decision has been made as it is still being negotiated.
POTENTIAL IMPACT ON CANADA
The recent elimination of the TPS and the possible elimination of other programs, such as DACA, in the US has serious and direct impacts on Canada.
• Increase in irregular entry
The possibility that a percentage of people affected by the elimination of the programs decide to enter Canada irregularly is very high.
• The cancellation in 2017 of the TPS program for Haitians created an influx of over 15,000 entering the country as irregular arrivals.
• Approximately 200,000 Salvadorians, 60,000 Honduran. 57,000 Haitians, 2,500 Nicaraguans affected by the TPS may not be able to resolve their immigration status within the US.
• Based on conservative calculations, if only 10% of this population who are unable to resolve their immigration status within the US decide to migrate to Canada, we can expect an influx of 30,000 irregular arrivals.
• According to community advocates in Canada, many people in the US are only aware of the refugee program for immigrating to Canada and lack knowledge of other classes they may qualify for such as the Federal Skilled Workers, Federal Trade Workers and the business Programs.
Delay in Canadian refugee processing times
• A high number of refugee applications from those affected by the elimination of the TPS and DACA programs in the US would further delay our refugee processing times.
• Processing has gone from 30 and 60 days to two years.
Increased demand for Legal Aid
• It could be expected that a large number of refugee claimants would apply for certificates to process their claims through Legal Aid.
Multiply the demand for emergency housing
• Shelters and other emergency housing are already overburdened by the influx of refugee claimants from the USA a further increase, would result in a housing crisis.
The Coalition suggests the following actions be taken by the Canadian Government to mitigate the potential influx of irregular arrivals from the United States:
• Relaxing the requirements and criteria of the different immigration classes for Canada for affected people living in the US, who may wish to apply for any of its immigration and refugee programs.
• Please consider that most of the affected people living in United States are well established and would be able to resettle in Canada without causing a demand on the Canadian taxpayer.
The suggested programs which requirements could be relaxed are:
• Economic Class
There are many people who would like to apply for these programs but they do not meet the requirements for instance: they may be a few points short of the level of language required or they may qualify as skilled workers but their age lowers their chances under the Express Entry.
• The government should consider relaxing the requirements of the above mentioned class to allow people to obtain their permanent residence status and arrive in Canada legally.
Temporary Residents (Students, Workers)
• The government should implement measures to ensure that people applying for temporary work permits and study permits will be granted such status.
Currently, people on TPS and DACA who make applications to come to Canada under those programs are refused their visas, as visa officers fear that these applicants will not leave Canada once their visa expires as their status in the US is precarious.
• There are thousands of young people with TPS and DACA who have the money to come to Canada as students or have the skills to come as workers and would not only be able to successfully establish in Canada, but would be a benefit to the Canadian labour force.
• The Canadian government has repeatedly stated that international students are the preferred class of immigrant as they help the economy of the areas where their institutional educations are located, they speak one of the official languages and they will be established by the time they obtain their permanent residence through the Canadian Experience class.
• Creating a private sponsorship resettlement program for TPS/DACA people who can demonstrate one of the following criteria:
a) risk that they will be exposed to if they were forced to return to El Salvador,
b) humanitarian and compassionate grounds either in US (forced family separation) or in Canada (extended family in Canada, and c) the potential of successfully establishing in Canada. There are many affected people living in the US who have extended family in Canada wishing to sponsor them. These relatives do not meet the narrow criteria of family class, but they are willing and able to sponsor their relatives.
• All the above initiatives should be made accessible for the migrant communities and the civil society in Canada and to those affected by the elimination of the TPS and DACA in the US.
• That the Canadian government engage with Central American and Caribbean communities in Canada on these issues.
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