They Fled Trump. Now These Asylum Seekers Are Stuck In Limbo In Canada
As President Donald Trump took office, thousands of people fled to Canada to escape the president’s crackdown on illegal migrants.
Now many of them are stuck waiting for their asylum cases to be approved by Canada’s maxed-out refugee system, Reuters reports, making it difficult for them to find jobs.
Despite some of those refugees who were living and working in the U.S. legally, they escaped due to fear of detainment and deportation at upcoming check-ins with immigration officials.
Refugee claims are taking longer to be completed than previous years, according to previously unpublished Immigration and Refugee Board data provided to Reuters.
And wait times are expected to grow even longer. The number of delayed hearings have already more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 and it is on track to increase again this year.
Without a claimant’s legal status in Canada, they struggle to persuade employers to hire them or landlords to rent to them due to the refugee’s lack of credentials and doubts of whether they will pay their rent. The refugees also cannot access loans for student financial aid or update academic or professional credentials to meet Canadian standards.
Canada’s refugee system was already struggling to process thousands of applications. The additional 3,500 asylum seekers from the United States in January certainly did not make it any easier.
Asylum cases already take longer to finalize. This year, it has been taking 5.6 months on average, which puts it on track to be the highest year for refugee claims since at least 2011, according to government statistics.
The government is now focusing on clearing a backlog of about 24,000 claimants, which means that more than 15,000 people who have filed claims this year will have to wait even longer for their cases to be heard.
Canada is in over its head with these numbers. It lacks the manpower and resources to decide cases in a timely manner. Border agents have been working overtime to try to get through the backlog in security screenings.
In attempt to speed up the overflowing cases, Canada’s refugees tribunal has put people from countries that are engaged in ongoing violence such as Syria on an accelerated track that requires no hearings.
As Canada struggles to stay afloat despite the overwhelming number of refugees, the government hopes to make the system more efficient and get through as many claimants as possible.
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