Canada allows some people who would not usually meet the criteria for permanent residency to apply on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, which are considered on a case-by-case basis according to factors such as how settled someone is here or the best interests of children.
According to data the Immigration Department provided in response to an order paper question from Kwan this spring, the rate of applications refused after processing ranged from 35 to 41 per cent between 2016 and 2019. Those figures do not include applications that were withdrawn.
In 2020, the rejection rate rose to 57 per cent, even though the total number of applications processed — 7,835 — increased by just 11 per cent, which was a smaller jump than the prior year.
The 2021 figures, which only include up to Feb. 28, show the rate of applications refused climbed to 70 per cent of the 4,180 processed in the first two months of this year.
“The Liberal government must provide answers to why there is such a significant jump in … refusals and take immediate action to rectify this,” Kwan said in a statement.
The Immigration Department did not respond Tuesday when asked about the rising rate.
Syed Hussan, executive director of Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, said humanitarian and compassionate grounds is the only option available to undocumented migrants who want to apply for permanent residency in Canada.
He said that also makes it the only real way for undocumented migrants to access education and health care and urged the federal government to give status to all migrants in the country.
“We see that the only program that does exist for undocumented people is rejecting people at historic rates,” he told a virtual news conference Tuesday.
He said he does not think any slowdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic explain the change, because the number of applications processed has gone up.
“We don’t know what’s happening. We don’t know why it’s happening. There has been no policy change, no public announcement, no change in legal cases, but rejection rates have increased,” he said. “It’s on the federal government to explain.”
Also this …
The Royal Canadian Navy is launching its long-anticipated push to replace the beleaguered submarine fleet.
Navy spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Jordan Holder tells The Canadian Press that a team is being created to start figuring out what the country needs in a new fleet of subs.
Defence and industry insiders have been warning about the need to start work on such a project, given the age of the existing submarines and the time needed to design and build such vessels.
Holder says most military procurement projects take more than 15 years, in line with the military’s current plan to retire its four Victoria-class submarines in the mid- to late-20-30s.
Any move to buy new submarines is likely to be controversial, given the cost and the fact the Victoria-class subs have spent more time docked for repairs than in the water since being purchased second-hand from Britain in 19-98.
Navy commanders have stressed the importance of submarines over the years, particularly as Russia and China flex their muscles and climate change eases access to the Arctic Ocean.
What we are watching in the U.S. …
PHILADELPHIA — U.S. President Joe Biden says preserving voting rights is “a test of our time” as he urges passage of federal legislation to combat efforts by Republican-led state legislatures to restrict access to ballots.
Biden laid out what the White House called “the moral case” for voting rights in a speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Democratic Texas state legislators took dramatic action to stymie their state’s latest effort in a nationwide Republican push to tighten ballot restrictions. They took flight to Washington to keep the Texas legislature from a quorum that would allow legislative action.
Speaking at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Biden called state efforts to curtail voting accessibility “un-American” and “un-democratic” and launched a broadside against his predecessor, Donald Trump, who baselessly alleged misconduct in the 2020 election after his defeat. Biden called passage of congressional proposals to override new state voting restrictions and to restore parts of the Voting Rights Act that were curbed in recent years by the Supreme Court “a national imperative.”
Yet, instead of raising the possibility of fighting the filibuster, he appeared to tacitly acknowledge the fading hopes for the bills, saying he would launch a nationwide campaign to arm voters with information on rule changes and restrictions ahead of the 2022 midterm elections.
“We have to prepare now,” the president said.
Biden’s remarks came a day after Texas Democrats decamped for Washington in an effort to deny their GOP-controlled Legislature the necessary quorum to pass a bill placing new restrictions on voting in the state.
The lawmakers, who arrived in the nation’s capital Monday night, said they were prepared to stay in Washington — out of the reach of Texas law enforcement — until a special legislative session concludes early next month.
What we are watching in the rest of the world …
LONDON — Through the pens and pencils of children, England is fighting back against racism.
After bigots defaced a mural of soccer star Marcus Rashford, children in Manchester rose to the hometown hero’s defense. They filled spaces on the wall with messages of support, encouragement and consolation.
“I hope you won’t be sad for to (sic) long because you are such a good person,” nine-year-old Dexter Rosier wrote. “I’m proud of you. You will always be a hero.”
Rashford and two other Black players who missed penalty shots in the final moments of the national soccer team’s European Championship loss to Italy also received racist abuse on social media.
The mural, which occupies a brick wall not far from where Rashford grew up, has become a symbol of England’s fight against the bigotry that has blighted the sport loved by people of all backgrounds. The struggle is playing out across the country as politicians and pundits, athletes and activists, react to the racist comments.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was quick to condemn racism and blamed social media companies for not doing enough to stop the spread of hate on their platforms.
Critics said that Johnson and his government failed to tackle the issue at the start of the Euro 2020 tournament, when some fans booed the England team for kneeling symbolically at the start of games to highlight the problem of racism.
Marvin Sordell, a former professional soccer player who advises England’s Football Association on diversity, said the outpouring of disgust from politicians and pundits was depressingly familiar.
“We always see condemnation,” Sordell told the BBC. “It’s the same for a few days, then we kind of get back to normal and then another incident happens.…We kind of live in this cycle that continuously goes on. At some point, we have to break the cycle. At some point, it isn’t enough to just be outraged. We have to do something.”
On this day in 1976 …
The House of Commons passed a bill to abolish the death penalty. After debating the issue for more than two months, the bill was approved by a 130-124 vote. At the time, there were 11 men on death row awaiting the noose, although the last hangings had occurred in 1962.
In entertainment …
TORONTO — The city’s hallmarks including streetcar tracks, the CN Tower and graffiti-covered alleyways are going to be featured in an upcoming Disney and Pixar film.
“Turning Red,” set for release in March 2022, is directed by Canadian Oscar-winning director Domee Shi and features Ottawa-born Sandra Oh as one of the voice actors.
The animated movie follows the story of a 13-year-old girl who transforms into a giant red panda when she gets too excited.
Rosalie Chiang voices the main character, Mei Lee, while Oh lends her voice to Lee’s protective, overbearing mother.
A trailer released Tuesday featured background shots of Toronto’s Chinatown, its streets lined with trees laden with cherry blossoms.
Shi won an Oscar in 2019 for the animated short film “Bao,” which she wrote and directed and also set in Toronto.
Walt Disney Studios Canada said a group of Canadian artists also worked on the filmmaking team of “Turning Red.”
Greg Mason, vice president of marketing for Walt Disney Studios Canada called the film a “love letter to Toronto and Canada.”
“There are a couple of great Canadian Easter eggs in this trailer and we can’t wait for Canadian audiences to see more when the film hits theatres next year,” Mason said in a release.
BOSTON — A U.S. army battalion that made history as the only all-female, Black unit to serve in Europe during the Second World War is set to be honored by Congress.
The Senate has passed legislation that would award members of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion with the Congressional Gold Medal. The bill is awaiting action in the House.
The unit, known for short as the Six Triple Eight, was tasked with sorting and routing mail for millions of American service members and civilians. Only a handful of more than 850 members are still alive.
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion was credited with solving a growing mail crisis during its stint in England and, upon their return, serving as a role model to generations of Black women who joined the military.
There are believed to be only seven surviving members, including Maj. Fannie Griffin McClendon.
“Well, it would be nice but it never occurred to me that we would even qualify for it,” McClendon said from her home in Tempe, Arizona.
“I just wish there were more people to, if it comes through, there were more people to celebrate it,” said McClendon, who has met with her local congressman to press for passage of the bill.
The 6888th was sent overseas in 1945, a time when there was growing pressure from African American organizations to include Black women in what was called the Women’s Army Corps and allow them to join their white counterparts overseas.
“I think that the 6888th, the command inherently knew that their presence overseas meant more than clearing that mail backlog,” said Edna Cummings, a retired army colonel who was not a member of the 6888th but has been advocating to get them greater recognition. “They were representing opportunity for their sisters at arms back in the United States who were having a hard time dealing with the racism and sexism within the ranks.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2021
The Canadian Press