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Announcement of the government of Canada
January 29, 2013 2:04 PM   Subscribe

To deter abuse, Canada’s refugee system has changed.
People who have arrived with groundless claims for asylum are removed faster (then before).


The Government of Canada has started a billboard campaign in Miskolc, Hungary's third biggest city, to inform people about the changes of its immigration law. (Many who previously immigrated to Canada used to live in this city and its surrounding area.)

Also, two Global News reports from Canada:

The Outsiders. The harsh realities of being a Hungarian Roma refugee in Canada.

(Previously)
posted by bdz (149 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
there will be no automatic stay of removal

What a bunch of crap this government is.
posted by windykites at 2:12 PM on January 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


What a bunch of crap this Harper government is.

Fixed.
posted by Fizz at 2:15 PM on January 29, 2013 [18 favorites]


Hey, @bdz, you missed something. The government of Canada is no longer called the Government of Canada. It is The Harper Government (TM). That's the branding used on most decisions. I think we're supposed to stick to it.

In a way it's kinda good that refugee claims can be processed in 60 days instead of letting people endure a decade of Kafkaesque existence where they can be expelled at any time. On the other hand I wish they would just let people into Canada.
posted by sixohsix at 2:18 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I do not see why a person needs to apply for asylum in an overseas country if they are a citizen of a EU state located within the Schengen zone.
posted by thewalrus at 2:19 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The list in "to inform people" has some interesting omissions, like Norway, Switzerland and Japan
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:20 PM on January 29, 2013


IIRC you're also supposed to froth at the mouth at any news involving said government, no matter how likely that said news could have come from any other party in power.

3rd link: Last year alone, over 4,400 Hungarians, most of whom were Roma, claimed refugee status in Canada. Of those, 92 percent were either withdrawn, abandoned or rejected.

“I’m afraid that people have to deal with the reality here. The reality is that the significant majority of these Hungarian claimants don’t actually show up for their refugee hearing,” says Minister Kenney.

posted by Behemoth at 2:25 PM on January 29, 2013


As always and forever, Marg
posted by edgeways at 2:26 PM on January 29, 2013


@walrus, because until very recently, EU citizens couldn't claim asylum in other EU member states.
posted by sixohsix at 2:26 PM on January 29, 2013


This explains why my kids are learning in school to watch out for Gypsies
posted by KokuRyu at 2:27 PM on January 29, 2013


Unless we have any full time Canadian immigration lawyers here, I may be the closest thing that MeFi has to an in house expert on the Canadian IRB (RPD). As an unpaid volunteer I have spent hundreds of hours representing Afghan families before the IRB including the full hearing process. It chafes me when I see people from Schengen zone countries claiming asylum in Canada, when it is pushing the hearing dates for documentably persecuted Afghans back 18 months or more.
posted by thewalrus at 2:27 PM on January 29, 2013 [24 favorites]



Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney says some waves of immigrants have ties to organized crime in Europe.

“As far as we can tell, there are sort of ringleaders who advise people on how to come and use the Canadian system,” he says. “They find cheap flights, they almost bring people over here like travel agents. We have had flights arriving at the Pearson airport with dozens of claimants – of asylum claimants coming off the same flight.”

Minister Kenney told 16x9 many of the Roma refuges are “bogus refugees” and claims those people take advantage of Canada’s generous social assistance.

“It’s because we’re one of the only countries I know of that provides immediate welfare benefits to asylum claimants the moment they show up,” he says.


If that's true, it seems like there are two possibilities for discouraging abuse of the system: either restrict the number of people coming into Canada, or restrict the benefits available to people who are there. Both of those options have drawbacks though.
posted by dubold at 2:27 PM on January 29, 2013


Let's take a look at the list of new Designated Countries of Origin:

The initial list of designations includes:

Austria
Belgium
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Ireland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
Malta
Netherlands
Poland
Portugal
Slovak Republic
Slovenia
Spain
Sweden
United Kingdom
United States of America


90% of those countries are EU/Schengen zone states where people have the right to relocate themselves within the EU. This is not a list that contains Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali, Syria and wonderful central asian bastions of enlightened human rights such as Uzbekistan. My work is focused on people who sincerely need refugee protection, not economic migrants.
posted by thewalrus at 2:33 PM on January 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Two interesting omissions: Bulgaria and Romania (EU countries but not in the Schengen area)
posted by bdz at 2:35 PM on January 29, 2013


In the 'realities of being a Hungarian Roma in Canada" article, they point out that the generous, lavish benefits that people are allegedly emigrating to scam off the Canadian government are something like $1100 a month, out of which you have to cover your rent/your family's rent. You also get food and medical assistance, but it sounds like families are ending up with about $200 a month to cover public transit, soap, toothpaste, probably anything like condoms or tampons, translation services, clothes and so on. If people are willing to leave their home for basically a pittance, things must be pretty desperate at home, eh?

I do not like the attempt to distinguish between people who are at risk because of politics and people who are at risk because of poverty. Miserable is miserable - although I suspect that many Westerners imagine that some Roma kid off the streets could just bootstrap himself into being a tech entrepreneur if he weren't lazy, and that therefore his poverty and immiseration are his own fault.

Truly a contradiction of "humane" capitalism - lots of people are miserable because of neoliberalism, and we have to sift out some who are legitimate victims from others who should be left behind.

The article goes on to talk about how Roma have been targeted by Hungary's terrifying and fascist new government - if I were Rom and I had any kind of family memories of the Holocaust, I'd be wanting to get the fuck out of Dodge too.

Cast adrift from the citizen ship, all right.
posted by Frowner at 2:35 PM on January 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


It chafes me when I see people from Schengen zone countries claiming asylum in Canada, when it is pushing the hearing dates for documentably persecuted Afghans back 18 months or more.

Did you miss the bit where various countries (*cough* France) make a hobby of expelling Roma from EU states?
posted by hoyland at 2:36 PM on January 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I did not miss that bit, but the situation for Roma in western/central Europe is nowhere near as dire as that for the Hazara minority resident in the area of Quetta, Pakistan, for example. Part of the UN conventions that established our modern refugee system (UN convention on refugees, 1951, etc) state clearly that a person should apply for asylum in the nearest safe country, not the country of their choosing. There are many modern, democratic EU states near Hungary. People are buying plane tickets for Canada because they think they can get a job in cash and have better economic prospects than whatever job they could get as a displaced Roma in Europe.
posted by thewalrus at 2:39 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did not miss that bit, but the situation for Roma in western/central Europe is nowhere near as dire as that for the Hazara minority resident in the area of Quetta, Pakistan, for example.

Funnily enough, refugee status is only a limited resource if we choose to make it so. Canada is not at particular risk of running out of land for people to live on.
posted by hoyland at 2:41 PM on January 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


This is not a list that contains Somalia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Mali, Syria and wonderful central asian bastions of enlightened human rights such as Uzbekistan.

That's the point. The DCO is a list of safe countries from which people are unlikely to have a valid asylum claim. The applications are fast-tracked so abusers can be deported quicker.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:42 PM on January 29, 2013


Pruitt-Igoe, I'm very close to 100% in agreement with the choice of countries on that list, because I have personally witnessed frivolous cases backlogging the system while persons from the absolutely most-persecuted Afghan ethnic/religious minority (Shiite Hazaras) suffer in silence waiting for their IRB claim to be heard.
posted by thewalrus at 2:46 PM on January 29, 2013


Discrimination against Roma is not a Hungarian thing; it's pan-European. It's all well and good to say, "They can just go somewhere else in Europe," but, well, there wouldn't be much point in that, would there?

Refusing asylum to Jews in the 1930s also had a lot to do with their perceived "connections to organized crime," which, frankly, yeah, a lot of the big mobsters at the time were indeed Jewish. But they were hardly the majority, and there were other more pressing issues at hand. Using something like that as an excuse to keep a whole race of people out of your (my!) country is 100% racist bullshit.
posted by Sys Rq at 2:54 PM on January 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm very close to 100% in agreement with the choice of countries on that list

Me too. I think I misunderstood your previous comment.

Truly a contradiction of "humane" capitalism - lots of people are miserable because of neoliberalism, and we have to sift out some who are legitimate victims from others who should be left behind.

Asylum claims are supposed to be made by people fearing for their lives.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 2:57 PM on January 29, 2013


Hungary is a massive source of economic migrants to Canada who take advantage of our refugess system to assert bogus claims in order to stay in Canada until they've had kids and can't be deported. When the Liberals were in power, they tolerated this massive, costly abuse of Canada's refugee system because they wanted to be the default party for immigrants, and they weren't sophisticated enough to figure out that most immigrants, who have worked hard and played by the rules, don't appreciate bogus refugee claimants making a joke of Canada's immigration system. That's to say nothing of the real refugees whose claims can't be processed.

When I was in Hungary, I stayed in a hostel where the owner told me about the years he had spent in Canada on the basis of what he admitted was a bogus refugee claim. He milked the system for years until, eventually, he got deported. I wonder how many thousands, or tens of thousands, of dollars he cost Canada in that time.

A refugee is not someone who has a tough life at home. It's someone who has a well-founded fear of persecution. Not discrimination - persecution. There's discrimination in Canada, too - it doesn't mean that a Canadian is entitlted to claim refugee status in the U.K.

Canadians are generous - we have a very high immigration rate, which the government is not proposing to change - but they don't like being played for suckers. The Liberals let Canada's refugee system become a joke purely for reasons of perceived political expediency. It was revolting. Jason Kenney has been probably the most effective minister in the Harper government since Jim Prentice left, and his immigration reforms are, at the moment, the single most important policy shift that's taken place under Harper. The system is finally regaining some integrity and, therefore, public respect. It only remains to be seen whether the courts, who created this problem in the first place, have learned from their mistakes.
posted by Dasein at 3:05 PM on January 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Discrimination against Roma is not a Hungarian thing; it's pan-European. It's all well and good to say, "They can just go somewhere else in Europe," but, well, there wouldn't be much point in that, would there?
There are many countries in Europe where Roma are essentially safe. You're mixing up "discrimination against Roma can be found anywhere" with "Roma are safe nowhere". I mean, by the same measure, Roma aren't safe in Canada either.
posted by Jehan at 3:09 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


As clearly stated by Dasein, the grounds for a successful asylum claim are not "discrimination", but persecution. Per the 1951 and 1967 UN conventions:

"A person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country; or who, not having a nationality and being outside the country of his former habitual residence as a result of such events, is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to return to it.."
posted by thewalrus at 3:11 PM on January 29, 2013


Is this persecution enough?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:15 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks for this post. I was thinking of making an askmefi post about the Roma, because I am so at odds with my own feelings/actions.

The Hungarian Roma travel freely around Europe. After a while, they get thrown out of some countries such as France, but this does not deter them at all, they often stay on illegally. And there are other EU countries where they are accepted and which even provide housing. There is no way they can claim political refugee status in Canada.
But there also seems to be no way EU can force Hungary (/Romania/Poland....) to treat it's citizens humanely. So for some Roma, begging for pennies and literally living in bins in sub-arctic/arctic countries is relatively better than staying at home. 1100 dollars a month is glamour.
This means we have human beings living under conditions that are in my view completely unacceptable, and on the other hand, somehow making a clear adult choice. I get confused in my values when a woman younger than me pretends to be disabled, or even mutilates her child, because her business is begging, while her fellow European from an other low wage country scrubs floors or does dangerous construction work, and thus gets paid for her work and has a home.
If this reads confused, it's because I am. I've done professional and voluntary work with the homeless and the very poor, and I worry about the increasing greed and lack of solidarity in society. I know well how some people have structural and social problems of a degree that makes integration in "normal" life near impossible. It's against my deepest principles to be suspicious of other humans. But I have to admit I cannot understand what is going on here.
I both agree and don't agree with Sys Rq's comparison with pre WW2 Jews. It is true the Roma are discriminated and even persecuted in some countries. But in plenty others, which they have access to, they are not. And still they keep living in bins and begging. Jews don't do that and never did. And btw, neither do Palestinians nor Somalis, other refugee groups with huge real and perceived problems.

What can one do as an individual citizen here? I certainly don't want to join the choir of haters, but I also really want to help end this situation.
posted by mumimor at 3:19 PM on January 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


The government of Canada is no longer called the Government of Canada. It is The Harper Government (TM).

Nope. That's a cop-out that lefties like myself are fond of but it ain't gonna fly. They're our government. After all, we keep electing them. Or rather, a majority of Canadians vote against them by voting for parties who can't be bothered to merge, form coalitions or otherwise cooperate electorally. Until we stop giving the Conservatives power, we as the electorate are responsible for what they do.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


"... people fearing for their lives"

But what if you are so desperate, and you are truly isolated on the periphery of the society? In that meaning you are fearing for your life.

Maybe not because the government directly attacks you (ie armed forces, what the most people thinks about the current hungarian government) but they just don't give you the social benefits anymore and you have less than the aforementioned 200 CAD a month.
posted by bdz at 3:21 PM on January 29, 2013


I'm uncertain if this is an additional reason to do so or not, but I remain deeply embarrassed of and furious at the Harper Government™ and the people that elected it.

Nope. That's a cop-out that lefties like myself are fond of but it ain't gonna fly. They're our government. After all, we keep electing them.

I'm not sure if you're aware, but the nomenclature isn't just a pejorative used by opponents of the Harperites. It's apparently policy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:23 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]



Nope. That's a cop-out that lefties like myself are fond of but it ain't gonna fly. They're our government. After all, we keep electing them. Or rather, a majority of Canadians vote against them by voting for parties who can't be bothered to merge, form coalitions or otherwise cooperate electorally. Until we stop giving the Conservatives power, we as the electorate are responsible for what they do.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:21 PM on January 29 [+] [!]


It's got nothing to do with electing another government. The "Harper Government" thing was an intentional rebranding on the part of the government itself. The media have picked up on it without hesitation. It was done by the government, and not as an attack on them.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:36 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just to clarify: there is no doubt that Roma are discriminated against and in some cases persecuted in Hungary. However, Hungarians can freely travel throughout Europe, and their first choice of shelter should be within the democratic and free EU. And the EU-Commision is on the case.

I am well-aware how this doesn't work at all. But how can we then change this?

I'm sure you are right that your Harper Government is a bad thing, but in this case, I suspect no Canadian government would ever do differently. This is an EU problem.
posted by mumimor at 3:36 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Is this persecution enough?
No, because Hungary is only one state, and a fairly small one at that. Something like 2% of the whole EU population.

Don't get me wrong, I know that there is discrimination against the Roma in many EU states, and that needs to be tackled. But there are also many places open to them where the state won't discriminate and will shield them from hate. The Roma settling in England have experienced more abuse from other East Europeans than from the native population.
posted by Jehan at 3:41 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


In and of itself, reducing the wait time for any sort of legal hearing is a good thing. And while there may be an undertone of racism here, if there are people abusing the system by showing up without legitimate refugee complaints then they should have their hearing and get sent home regardless of their ethnic identity.

It's not as if Canada is somehow no longer taking in refugees or immigrants.
posted by GuyZero at 3:42 PM on January 29, 2013


We don't take in nearly as many refugees as we could.
posted by windykites at 3:49 PM on January 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


What was interesting to me was reading the description of the persecution this Roma family alleged: random street searches, police interrogations, employment discrimination, racial violence. Based on that description, an African-American family from the Bronx could credibly claim a need for asylum outside of the United States. Take that as you will.
posted by decathecting at 3:50 PM on January 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


I'm sure you are right that your Harper Government is a bad thing, but in this case, I suspect no Canadian government would ever do differently. This is an EU problem.
posted by mumimor at 3:36 PM on January 29 [+] [!]



This isn't strictly true. Our Conservative government has been reworking immigration and refugee laws, they've made it one of their pet projects. It has not been done in a way that is friendly to either. There are definitely problems on both side of the water there, but Canada has lots of issues going on in this area right now that are new under our current leadership.
posted by Stagger Lee at 3:51 PM on January 29, 2013


Canada is not at particular risk of running out of land for people to live on.

Haven't heard a Canadian real estate agent open their mouth in the past decade, have you?
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 3:51 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


So if the current bill in the Senate passes, does this mean the U.S. will be more liberal than Canada on immigration laws? Because as a Damnyankee that's my biggest concern about this development.
posted by Apocryphon at 3:53 PM on January 29, 2013


does this mean the U.S. will be more liberal than Canada on immigration laws?

I don't think this is a contest.
posted by GuyZero at 3:58 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


If any of you ever come to Budapest I'd gladly drive you around just to show how absurd and weird this country is.
Than you'll better understand everything (:

I am not kidding, but it is really hardy to explain this current situation if you have never been to here.
posted by bdz at 4:00 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The "Harper Government" thing was an intentional rebranding on the part of the government itself. The media have picked up on it without hesitation.

It goes both ways. The rebranding allows the current ruling party to take credit for anything good the government does, including programs that have been around for decades. However, it was an intentional rebranding which the opposition has little incentive to resist. It allows those out of power to avoid feeling identified with current bad policy. Am I wrong in thinking that The Harper Government (tm) is multipartisan standard usage now?

(Well, there is one locus of resistance to the rebranding, anger at siphoned off ad money being used for partisan gain, but that's another story)
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:00 PM on January 29, 2013


What was interesting to me was reading the description of the persecution this Roma family alleged: random street searches, police interrogations, employment discrimination, racial violence. Based on that description, an African-American family from the Bronx could credibly claim a need for asylum outside of the United States. Take that as you will.

This is a really good point, but I think it hides another point: when you are looking for good cases among the Roma, you will easily find people who have experienced real persecution. However, these people will often also be difficult to frame as "ordinary people", with appeal to mainstream Canadians. This does not make their case less worthy, but it does make their case less marketable. Still, I think it is mainly a European problem, if we are talking about refugees. Lots of EU countries are able to house persecuted Roma, and lots do, while the real issue is how Hungary can act like it does without serious repercussions.

Obviously, anyone should have the opportunity to apply for immigration to Canada. Which is an entirely different thing.
posted by mumimor at 4:08 PM on January 29, 2013


I don't think this is a contest

No it totally is. A lot of Canadians hate anything that makes us look like assholes to the other countries and usually our major barometer for that is how assholish the States seems in regards to any major issue. Being the nice guys, the good guys, is a big part of Canadian identity for a lot of people and there's a pretty strong element of rivalry against the states especially.
posted by windykites at 4:11 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Gamify government policy. Earn achievements based on your Human Rights Watch rating! Resettle displaced persons for a high score! Currency is carbon credits.
posted by Apocryphon at 4:18 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It is extremely troubling to me that a representative of refugees can look at a Roma facing immediate threats of violence in Hungary, to where they can count on being returned if they try to relocate to another EU country (where racism against the Roma is also very high) and make a value judgement over who deserves protection more -- rather than criticize at the system which has been deliberately redesigned to punish refugees. In fact, thewalrus did more than that -- he blamed the refugee for wishing to extricate themselves from a harmful situation. As if refugees can choose when their lives or livelihoods are endangered!

Canada accepts 20 000 refugees a year, which is less than 0.1% of the 20 million refugees and displaced peoples worldwide. Jason Kenney, Canada's Minister of Immigration, is one of the most hateful, racist and mealy mouthed politicians I have ever investigated -- and he is in charge of protecting foreign refugees. Make no mistake: the system which pits, apparently, Afghan refugees against Roma refugees is not an accident. It is part of a fascist ideology which protects Canadian privilege and accountability in geopolitics and creates divides between privileged Canadians and the global poor that privilege exploits.
posted by Catchfire at 4:19 PM on January 29, 2013 [19 favorites]


I did not miss that bit, but the situation for Roma in western/central Europe is nowhere near as dire as that for the Hazara minority resident in the area of Quetta, Pakistan, for example

I don't think we need to exclude the Roma just because there are other people who are in worse trouble.

But there are also many places open to them where the state won't discriminate and will shield them from hate.

People keep saying these, but no one has named this magical discrimination-free land.
posted by jeather at 4:24 PM on January 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes, Jason Kenney is a hateful racist, Canada is ruled by a fascist cabal, and Catchfire is highly credible.
posted by Dasein at 4:24 PM on January 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I should also add that a 2-tier refugee system which automatically marks certain countries as "safe" rather than judging each case on its own merits, as is required by the Refugee Convention to which Canada is a signatory, is prejudicial, undemocratic and, in the case of the Roma, explicitly racist.
posted by Catchfire at 4:25 PM on January 29, 2013


@mumimor "... how Hungary can act like it does without serious repercussions"

Because the EU is totally incompetent on local things. They just can't do anything. They haven't done anything against France or Italy when they sent back the romainain gypsies to Romania. And they wouldn't do anything against Hungary.

Also what is better? One small member state with a populist megalomaniac leader. Or one member state which has been seriously punished or suspended.

If you follow the news: the EU leadership wish to have a strong fellowship. Where maybe there are some weirdos but they are going one way. And I haven't mentioned the UK referendum on withdrawal from the EU...

(And if everything goes well: Orban has only 1 year left)
posted by bdz at 4:27 PM on January 29, 2013


The Government of Canada has started a billboard campaign

I wonder if this couldn't work in the USA, but against hate. Instead of just grinding down immigrants even more to appease worried citizens - which consistently fails to ease the worry, put up billboards purporting to warn the undocumented but actually trying to crack down on the fear.
Eg announcing things like "NOTICE: Undocumented immigrants using fraudulent SSNs will be required to pay all applicable taxes on their wages, AND risk government scrutiny if an attempt is made to claim a refund for tax overpayment - even if the refund was earned".
Ie, nothing has been changed in the system or in the world - the billboards are just describing the status quo, albeit aspects that are normally invisible to the worried citizens (many of whom have instead been convinced by racists and rabble rousers that "they just sponge off our taxes for free and don't pay a dime!" and other stuff ripe for a billboard campaign that looks like a crackdown :-)
posted by anonymisc at 4:28 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Are you seriously throwing around the word "fascist", catchfire? CIC and the IRB-RPD are not the Stasi.
posted by thewalrus at 4:47 PM on January 29, 2013


prejudicial

It's a reaction to the fact that refugee claims from certain countries are usually found not to have merit, and the fact that people with Hungarian passports (this was previously a problem with Czech and Mexican passports as well) have had a tendency to withdraw refugee claims and then not show up for deportation. Please explain how this is not legitimate.

undemocratic

This is relevant how?

in the case of the Roma, explicitly racist

[citation needed]
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 4:56 PM on January 29, 2013


is there a translation of the billboard that I missed?
posted by desjardins at 4:57 PM on January 29, 2013


People keep saying these, but no one has mentioned this magical discrimination-free land.
Human rights in the EU are largely governed by the Geneva Convention and not least in this context, the Treaty of Lisbon. When a country, like France under Sarkozy or Italy under Berlusconi, attempts to undermine this, the Commission will intervene. Note that neither Sarkozy nor Berlusconi is in power any more. The voters support the European ideals of rule of law and transparency.
In the core EU, there is more social security, healthcare, education and judical protection than any American ever dreamt of - except Canadians of course. So the answer is, all EU countries must accept Roma visitors looking for jobs, and all EU countries must accept Roma people who participate in society by working or studying or doing voluntary work. The problem that worries me is, Romas won't participate, and claim it is their cultural heritage/privilege not to. We have lot's and lot's of migrants from all over the world, but at least here, the Roma are exceptional by not engaging with the rest of us. Please tell me it is different in your country, and I will do something constructive.


Because the EU is totally incompetent on local things. They just can't do anything. They haven't done anything against France or Italy when they sent back the romainain gypsies to Romania. And they wouldn't do anything against Hungary.

Obviously, you are right because the only thing that would work with the current Hungarian government is exclusion. They are crazy bullies. But in another way, I'd say you are wrong. The EU is not incompetent, but it is very, very slow. And maybe that is a good thing.
posted by mumimor at 4:58 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


People keep saying these, but no one has named this magical discrimination-free land.
The point of the comment is that the state doesn't discriminate, and the state will act against discrimination, not that there is no discrimination at all. I live in England—and my word it's not perfect—but if you go to a police station to report discrimination or abuse, the police take it seriously, the courts take it seriously, and the state takes it seriously: people are jailed for such things. If they don't take it seriously, or commit discrimination themselves, it's held up as a failing. Discrimination is taken as abnormal and something that needs to be countered. There's still a long way to go, and doubtless many individuals still discriminate, but persecution there isn't.
posted by Jehan at 5:00 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


@desjardins

The title + the first two italic lines of the post is the translation of the billboard.
posted by bdz at 5:07 PM on January 29, 2013


Just to clarify: there is no doubt that Roma are discriminated against and in some cases persecuted in Hungary. However, Hungarians can freely travel throughout Europe, and their first choice of shelter should be within the democratic and free EU.

This is a joke. There are Roma in Hungary, Romania, Slovakia (etc) who live in their country of birth and who've never left it, but are still internally deported - that is, sent out of the locality they've chosen to live in against their will. This is of course completely illegal, but it doesn't stop anyone from doing it, for courts to issue rulings that are completely ignored, with sanctions against the governments that allow this sort of thing never delivered, and on and on and on. Essentially, the freedom that Roma are promised "within the democratic and free EU" is very often a total lie. It simply doesn't work that way.

Government-sponsored discrimination and persecution against Roma would stop instantly, were the powers-that-be to actually withhold economic support from the biggest offenders. But they don't. It's a bit like why Russia often support popular uprisings in Muslim countries - they'd have to face their overt hypocrisy it would cause with the own internal (or semi-internal) problems. The French or Italians or Brits or Germans are not going to penalize the Hungarians or Romanians (etc) for their treatment of Roma, because they want to keep that option open for themselves. When elected officials openly say, "We should put all the Gypsies in camps and only let them out once they've proven that they can be good citizens," I don't know why one wouldn't throw around the word "fascist."

The problem that worries me is, Romas won't participate, and claim it is their cultural heritage/privilege not to. We have lot's and lot's of migrants from all over the world, but at least here, the Roma are exceptional by not engaging with the rest of us

This is what they said about my people in my country, and they worked hard to destroy the evidence proving this lie. It's what the Nazis and Russians said about the Jews. It's what Protestant America said when "Catholic hordes" came from Ireland, then Italy, then Poland. It's always been total bullshit. Always! It amazes me that my friends and I (Bosnian, American, British and other nationalities) haven't had any problems visiting foreign-to-us places like Hungary and Romania and "engaging" with many Roma people - making friends, sharing laughs, keeping in touch, sometimes even dating or marrying and having kids and enjoying lives together.

An earlier thread about the Roma saw many people posting here believe that America did not have a Roma population, where in fact we have quite a large one. I can only believe it's because those Roma do participate, enough so that they're not generally seen as Roma at all - just Americans. But racists need to believe whatever claptrap it is that justifies their racism, I suppose.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 5:12 PM on January 29, 2013 [30 favorites]


So the answer is, all EU countries must accept Roma visitors looking for jobs, and all EU countries must accept Roma people who participate in society by working or studying or doing voluntary work.

And since discrimination based on race is illegal, it doesn't happen.
posted by jeather at 5:25 PM on January 29, 2013


Yes, Jason Kenney is a hateful racist, Canada is ruled by a fascist cabal, and Catchfire is highly credible.

Jason Kenney does indeed seem to be racist, homophobic, anti-choice, anti-free speech, and an all around dumbass who's not the least bit shy about kissing the ass of his fellow longtime Conservative Calgary MP Stephen Harper at every available opportunity. Whether two men obviously in cahoots constitutes a "cabal" is debatable, but, well, when it's the Prime Minister and the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, what more do you need?
posted by Sys Rq at 5:30 PM on January 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Dee Xtrovert, I understand perfectly where you are coming from, not least because my own grandparents were refugees. And I agree, the way Roma are treated in some countries in Europe is both against all treaties and racist. But the fact remains that several European countries are open to Roma people, and some, including my own and Spain, provide housing and other social services in accordance with existing EU treaties. Thus, Hungarian Roma are not eligible for refugee status outside of the EU.

I live one street off from one of our oldest Roma colonies, and on the street of one of our oldest Palestinian "towns". "Little Africa" (e.g. Somalia) is on the other side of the main artery, but also about 200 meters from here. The Jews have moved about 700 meters inward. Our new friends from Iraq live everywhere there is a space. The Pakistanis have become affluent and have moved out, but still have their shops here, alongside the few Indians. In my neighborhood, we don't do bigotry. We pride ourselves as being different from the parts of our city where race is a thing. But if one group totally isolates itself from all the others, not even sending kids to school a couple of months a year (our standards are low), we notice. I'm not worrying from the point of view of some distant politician or single issue campaigner. I'm right here, where someone is hiding out even when welcome.
posted by mumimor at 5:33 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Roma are persecuted in Hungary; Canada should accept them as refugees. Their position in Hungary - and the Czech republic and lots of other central and eastern European countries - is like that of the Jews in Germany in the early 30s. The government is actively persecuting them and Canada has a duty to accept them -- just like any other persecuted minority.
posted by jb at 5:43 PM on January 29, 2013


The "Harper Government" thing was an intentional rebranding on the part of the government itself. The media have picked up on it without hesitation.

Not to continue the derail, but I should say that as a Federal Public Servant I have never, not once, been asked to use this phrase in any document I have written, and I write many. Not that I love Harper, at all, but I've never seen this used anywhere official.
posted by aclevername at 6:20 PM on January 29, 2013


Not to continue the derail, but I should say that as a Federal Public Servant I have never, not once, been asked to use this phrase in any document I have written, and I write many. Not that I love Harper, at all, but I've never seen this used anywhere official.

Are you new?
posted by Sys Rq at 6:30 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd like some evidence that the Roma culture is not everything the hype claims it to be.

Some stats, say, indicating that a significant number of Roma hold legitimate jobs, send their kids to school, or pay their taxes.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:37 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


No, I'm not "New". I'm 13 years in. Maybe some are using it, but it's never hit either department where I have worked.
posted by aclevername at 6:37 PM on January 29, 2013


Britain has a similar idea.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 7:07 PM on January 29, 2013


aclevername, I have some friends who are transitioning out of DFAIT & CIDA for a number of reasons but a major one is the "Harper Government" issue and policies that go along with it (a much stronger focus in CIDA & the politics side of DFAIT on economic rather than political or humanitarian issues). It is absolutely a thing.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:12 PM on January 29, 2013


On the issue - there are absolutely good points on both sides. The fact of the matter is, there is a higher percentage of people from Hungary and some of the other designated countries that withdraw applications. The sheer number of those applicants delays* applicants from countries where there is a higher percentage of non-withdrawn applications (I am ignoring the issue of succesful applications on the grounds that it is influenced by the stereotypes that exist).

However, a two-tier system is set up to be discriminatory and prejudge issues, on a structural level. A lack of automatic stays means that an appeal to the court, something that is guaranteed by the court system, is essentially meaningless.

There is no good answer here. In my head, it comes down to a matter of which side we want to err on. Allowing people to fraudulently be on social assistance for a moderately long period of time, or improperly denying what should be valid claims for refugee status?

I'm for the former, time and time again.

*OTOH, some of this might be fixed by the government just hiring more people to work on the IRB. Backlogs can be a sign of understaffing, although not always.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:19 PM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd like some evidence that the Roma INSERT BLACK/JEWISH/ITALIAN/OTHER SUCH culture is not everything the hype claims it to be.

Some stats, say, indicating that a significant number of Roma hold legitimate jobs, send their kids to school, or pay their taxes.


Well, see, one thing about a community with a history of exclusion is that they tend to go in for organised crime a bit more because that's the best career available. In addition, stuff gets blamed on them and people tend to demonise those they mistreat.

See the US and "cotton picking fingers". But, you know, perhaps they are fundamentally different people who could never be civilised, aren't worth helping, and this time it isn't just circumstances and racist stereotypes.

I also have to note that refugees don't become not-refugees just because their home culture has problematic elements. Even if other people of the same group weren't, and also that judging individual cases on stereotypes or indeed true things about a community they are part of is really really an indicator of Doing It Wrong.
posted by jaduncan at 7:23 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sorry for the triple-posting:

1) One thing that comes into play, which we should keep in mind, is that the social assistance being provided is being provided by the province. (I'm reasonably certain of this). The immigration and refugee side is governed and run by the federal government. The provinces feel like they are shouldering the burden for failures by the feds in administering the system, enforcing deportation and such. And they're kind of right, the incentives are weird.

2) In Ontario at least, the social assistance numbers are roughly:
Non-rent: $230 solo. $350 with 1 dependent, $450 with a spouse and up to two kids.
Rent for a family of 4 is up to $700 (just under $400 solo). That needs to be verified.
They can't have assets of approximately $500/person. Any more than that and they don't qualify at all.

In my small town in Northern Ontario I'm paying $800 for a (pretty nice) 1-bedroom basement apartment. The shitty, shitty places that I've seen, the ones that we're filing applications about because the windows are broken and the heaters don't work and the landlord is coming in at night and leering at the 15 year old daughter? Might be $600 for a 2-bedroom. Might be $800 or $900, that wouldn't surprise me in the least.

Our lavish social assistance that we're paying through the teeth for? Not a real thing. It's absolutely a good thing that we provide it, and I have no doubt that it's better than what the refugees or economic migrants were getting back home, but by no means is it a great life.

Here's the law, section 41 or so has the numbers.
posted by Lemurrhea at 7:37 PM on January 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm certainly no expert on refugees. Is there anyone from the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) around?
"We are aware that Roma are discriminated against and face a whole range of serious problems, not only in Hungary but also in many other Central and Eastern European countries", said Lloyd Dakin, UNHCR's Budapest-based regional representative. "But the problems that the Roma face should be tackled within the countries of origin."
In looking at statistics, there seem to be almost no Roma leaving for any country other than Canada; most countries with high numbers of refugees in industrialized countries (e.g. Afghanistan, China, Iraq, Somalia, Syria) have high numbers in several countries. Per the UNHCRs most recent report, there were 1,837 Hungarians claiming refugee status in Canada, 4 in New Zealand, 6 in Norway, 5 in Switzerland, 6 in the United States and 0 in the other 39 industrialized countries they track. It seems odd that the Roma are suffering from discrimination that can only be avoided in Canada, and not, for example, Australia, Great Britain, or the United States.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:39 PM on January 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


[citation needed]

It is racist to make a policy which is discriminatory in practice against a particular ethnic group. That is the definition of racism, actually. I find your objection baffling, or else in bad faith.

It is a myth that Canada's refugee system is benevolent in any way, and Kenney has set about making it worse during his entire tenure. We've seen this with the Tamil refugees on the MV Sun Sea, the deliberate gumming up of bureaucracy to delay claims (all claims, not just "credible" ones), and now with the Roma. Incidentally, not even Kenney disagrees that Roma make fair claims as refugees (link), his argument is simply that it's not Canada's problem.

Aside from the fact that the stereotype that Roma people are all on social security, that they constitute a drain on one of the richest countries in the world, that they are greedy and exploitative of our good nature and welcome is itself racist, it's important to ask why, in a globalized economy in which the West enjoys a clearly privileged position, refugees exist at all. It's not an accident that the Roma, who were targeted for extermination by the Nazis during the war we supposedly won, still live in situations of extreme poverty and remain vulnerable to extreme right-wing/neo-fascist hate groups. Of course we will take Hungarian wine, machinery, chemicals -- but not its people. Of course we will maintain close economic ties with richer EU nations like Germany, England and France whose wealth depends on extracting capital from the debt of poorer countries like Greece and Hungary and offloading the social security net which would improve the lives of Roma refugees to poorer countries who don't have the resources to maintain them. All the while the circulation of goods is maintained in ideology and practice and the circulation of people is maintained solely through lip service.

Combine this with the fact that Canada has a very strong Roma community nationwide and many of these refugees are trying to join an existing community that has already played a part in our nation's history (aren't we the country of multiculturalism?), and it's very clear that the "not our problem" chorus rings extremely false.

Yet historically targeted groups like the Roma, with Canadians' pre-programmed contempt for "gypsies" already in place, are extremely convenient way to spread the usual neoliberal lies that welfare, social services and an ethical immigration system are unsustainable, vulnerable to abuse and so on. So, no, I don't "throw around" a word like fascist; I call a political ideology which invokes racist tropes and fatal lies in order to spread dangerous, anti-social, pro-capital ideology what it is.
posted by Catchfire at 7:52 PM on January 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


Homeboy, I don't see what table you got that information from. According to CIC in 2011 there were over 4,000 Hungarian refugee claimants (with over 2,000 in each of the two previous years that may still be in the system due to appeals and delays). Actual decisions on appeals can be read on Canlii and are very enlightening in humanising the numbers.

Last year alone, over 4,400 Hungarians, most of whom were Roma, claimed refugee status in Canada. Of those, 92 percent were either withdrawn, abandoned or rejected.

“I’m afraid that people have to deal with the reality here. The reality is that the significant majority of these Hungarian claimants don’t actually show up for their refugee hearing,” says Minister Kenney.


Minister Kenney is conflating rejected with abandoned, I wonder what the actual number of applicants that disappear undocumented (and presumably unable to access medical help or social services) really is. I love that Canada is so generous to refugees; my issue has always been that we are so reactive, waiting for the refugees to come to us after possibly paying traffickers or criminal organizations, instead of us going to the countries in crisis and assisting people (including a more balanced gender mix) to come to Canada. I can see though how that would be diplomatically difficult.
posted by saucysault at 8:04 PM on January 29, 2013


Of course we will maintain close economic ties with richer EU nations like Germany, England and France whose wealth depends on extracting capital from the debt of poorer countries like Greece and Hungary

This is straight-up crazy talk. Germany, England and France are wealthy because they have strong, established economies, not because they're sucking the blood out of other countries. Moving to the Euro has not been an unalloyed success by any means and was pretty much the absolute wrong thing for Greece to do. But you're moving into tinfoil hat territory here.

Also separately, yes the Conservatives are somewhere between crypto-racist and pretty explicit racists but again, on paper, saying you're going to resolve refugee claims faster seems like a reasonable thing to do. I'm sure a lot of people other than Hungarian applicants will be affected here.
posted by GuyZero at 8:13 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Homeboy Trouble: It seems odd that the Roma are suffering from discrimination that can only be avoided in Canada, and not, for example, Australia, Great Britain, or the United States.

Its been previously mentioned that citizens of EU countries cannot apply for refuge within the EU, so that accounts for Norway and Sweden at least.

It is worth reinforcing that a debate on refugee policy is not necessarily a debate on immigration policy as a whole.

The 92% rejection rate is pretty convincing evidence, to me, that there is a problem and abuse going on.

Isn't ANY immigration policy that asks you "Where are you from?" and makes decisions based on that racist?
posted by cacofonie at 8:19 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Its been previously mentioned that citizens of EU countries cannot apply for refuge within the EU, so that accounts for Norway and Sweden at least.

Norway's not actually in the EU. Whether that matters here or not, I don't know, as Norway's involved in Europe in a myriad of other ways.
posted by hoyland at 8:25 PM on January 29, 2013


Homeboy, I don't see what table you got that information from.

Sorry, forgot to clarify; the table I was using was Asylum applications lodged in 44 industrialized countries by origin | fourth quarter 2011, from my second link, page 40. (Also, as a too-late warning, PDF.)
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:29 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also separately, yes the Conservatives are somewhere between crypto-racist and pretty explicit racists

I don't get that at all. Anti-First Nations? Sure. Anti-woman. Sure. But I don't think they're racists. After all, ethnic communities in Canada, notably new immigrant communities, can be very conservative in outlook. The Conservative Party in British Columbia is a pretty broad tent with lots of different ethnicities and communities represented.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:30 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is racist to make a policy which is discriminatory in practice against a particular ethnic group.

The policy flags countries with a very low success rate of refugee claims. You claimed that such a policy is explicitly racist; you have not yet supported that claim.

If it's easy to game the system in order to get into Canada when you wouldn't otherwise qualify, as it appears to be, then the government is not bound to just sit tight and hope nobody notices.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 8:32 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is a myth that Canada's refugee system is benevolent in any way, and Kenney has set about making it worse during his entire tenure. We've seen this with the Tamil refugees on the MV Sun Sea,

It's really hard to know who is arriving by ship in the dead of night, as it were. While I think Canada should take in more refugees and immigrants, and should provide better support for them once they get here (although, from first-hand experience I can tell you that Service Canada has spent loads of money on non-profits that help immigrants integrate), encouraging people to deal with human smugglers and voyage across the open Pacific in leaky ships is not the way to go.

Furthermore, I thought that the way some members (factions?) of the Canadian Tamil community acted (vocal protests, blocking roads) was pretty shameful and undemocratic, considering the documented influence Tamil guerilla/organized crime groups have on the Tamil diaspora worldwide, including in Canada.

I think it's great to be open-minded about accepting refugees, but not so openminded that your brains fall out. On the other hand, no one is illegal.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:37 PM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Canada has done a truly shitty job of keeping gang members from settling in our country. We are thick with thieves in this nation, no word of a lie.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:45 PM on January 29, 2013


Ohh and hold your breath: my favourite story that can only happen in Hungary:

A few years ago there was an LGBT march in Budapest. There was also an after party in one of the clubs and they didn't allow roma LGBTs to attend...
posted by bdz at 12:16 AM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd like some evidence that the Roma culture is not everything the hype claims it to be.

Some stats, say, indicating that a significant number of Roma hold legitimate jobs, send their kids to school, or pay their taxes.


This is creepy. Mostly, just because it is. And also, because what do you expect? People to throw their arms up in the air and say, you've got us! The Roma really are a bunch of jobless, uneducated cheating thieves? What number would satisfy you that the Roma are not, collectively societal parasites?

This is the same rhetoric I've seen a thousand times from slimeballs like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, who foster anti-Muslim hatred by saying things like, well, if the Muslims were really against 9/11 how come they're not speaking out against the "bad" Muslims? - ignoring all evidence that, of course, many do speak out. I have.

The truth is, in nearly every society, an economic and social underclass is almost always going to be undereducated, working undocumented jobs, and so on.

I've seen newspaper help wanted ads in EU countries which specifically state that Roma are not to apply. I've seen that EU states have sterilized Roma women (specifically the Roma women, that is) without their knowledge and against their will. I've seen schools in EU countries who have channeled, in some cases, 80% or more of a town or village's Roma children into classes for the mentally retarded, or refused to let Roma children in the same schools or classes as the non-Roma kids. I've seen leaders in EU countries build walls around the Roma parts of town to segregate them, openly discuss putting Roma in special camps, or advocate mass deportation of all Roma back to India, or steal money for projects to benefit Roma specifically because the funds were to do just that, or leave Roma-related monies go unclaimed rather than see them used to better the lives of this minority . . . I could go on and on. The post made by bdz says it all, really.

Blame the victims? It's pathetic. Give me a world where Roma have ample opportunity to enjoy equal educational and occupational opportunities, time and assistance to get over the legacy of generations of slavery, servitude, genocide and discrimination. No country has done that yet.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 1:58 AM on January 30, 2013 [18 favorites]


Romani hatred was alive and well in Italy when I visited in '09 - to the point where the tour guide warned us against giving the Gypsies any money, lest we be mugged by their shady relatives hiding around the corner. (The pick-pocket who went after my wallet in Naples was blonde haired and blue eyed and pale of complexion... so yeah, I don't subscribe.)

And, well, here we go...

1) The Romani are lazy and shiftless. They are the only people in Hungary or other Eastern European countries who are lazy and shiftless, which is why they're coming to Canada in record numbers. For the freebies.

...or...

2) They're suffering economic and political repression in Hungary, and face more of the same in most of the nearby countries they can move to. The want to seek asylum in Canada, because no-one gives a good goddamn if they're Romani, and no-one will deny them a job, education, healthcare or a say in politics because of the color of their skin or the heritage of their family.

Occam's Razor tells us "2" is the answer.

If the options are to be kicked around like a stray dog between EU nations that have proven themselves hostile to the Romani, or to seek asylum in Canada, where they're just another immigrant community, treated with the same respect as other immigrants - even as bad as that is at times - they have overwhelmingly chosen Canada. If I were a Canadian, I'd be damn proud of this.

They may not be in as desperate need of asylum as the Hazara or Yezedi or Hmong or Sudanese Christians - but they're still in need of asylum.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:18 AM on January 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Dee extrovert, I don't understand medicine well enough to understand how it's possible to sterilize a woman without her knowlege. Could you please explain how this happens?
posted by windykites at 6:42 AM on January 30, 2013


I would note that that example is just the first google result on the most obvious search term, and it refers to a case of this happening in the US as late as 1974. It definitely can and has happened many times all over the world.
posted by Aizkolari at 7:07 AM on January 30, 2013


I'd like some evidence that the Roma culture is not everything the hype claims it to be.

Some stats, say, indicating that a significant number of Roma hold legitimate jobs, send their kids to school, or pay their taxes.


By those standards, British Canadians have a problematic culture, since there are a lot of people in my family who have often been out of work and on welfare for years on end. Lots of Brits in Britain also on the dole, so it's clearly just endemic to the culture - it's probably the boiled vegetables.
posted by jb at 7:28 AM on January 30, 2013


I've seen newspaper help wanted ads in EU countries which specifically state that Roma are not to apply. I've seen that EU states have sterilized Roma women (specifically the Roma women, that is) without their knowledge and against their will. I've seen schools in EU countries who have channeled, in some cases, 80% or more of a town or village's Roma children into classes for the mentally retarded, or refused to let Roma children in the same schools or classes as the non-Roma kids. I've seen leaders in EU countries build walls around the Roma parts of town to segregate them, openly discuss putting Roma in special camps, or advocate mass deportation of all Roma back to India, or steal money for projects to benefit Roma specifically because the funds were to do just that, or leave Roma-related monies go unclaimed rather than see them used to better the lives of this minority . . . .

This is exactly the situation that the refugee system was set up to address. The Roma are persecuted because of their ethnic/racial identity, both by their government and their fellow citizens. With the rise of right-wing and openly fascist parties, as in Hungary, it may be just a matter of time before this systematic legal persecution becomes life-threatening.

Canada owes it to the world to accept Roma refugees from Hungary and other countries whose states discriminate against them. Other European nations should as well, but that doesn't abrogate our responsibility.
posted by jb at 7:32 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Europeans seem so wonderfully progressive until you mention Roma. Then they will shock you. Pretending that the Roma have "reasonable" options in Europe is absurd.
posted by Goofyy at 8:39 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Canada supports hundreds of international criminal gangs that suck some tens of billions from our economy.

These organizations are here because of our extremely lax immigration rules. We welcomed them in because we were too damn dumb and naïve to think that bad guys might want to set up shop in our nice country.

It has become so bad that there is a two-degree separation between our (BC) provincial government and the outlaw gangs; and a two-degree separation between some of our top cops and the outlaws. The result: outright theft of public resources, including a rail transport company and huge swathes of farmland. Over in Quebec, the same sort of public-private criminal partnership has been major news these past few months.

Open-door immigration policy is not sustainable. We must be more selective and we must start kicking out the mobs, triads, cartels, and gangs.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:44 AM on January 30, 2013


My comment above might not make any sense. I had another comment above it but that one was deleted, I assume, for being unduly snarky.

What I wanted to point out was this article discussing sterilization of women without their knowledge or consent.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:04 AM on January 30, 2013


Canada supports hundreds of international criminal gangs that suck some tens of billions from our economy.

Yeah, you need to keep the criminal gangs local... a thug of Scotts-Irish descent knows how to mug little old ladies and deal meth, the foreigners just don't have the same level of pride in their work.

I mean, you don't believe clamping down on immigration will eliminate organized crime, do you? Ever hear of the Yakuza?
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:16 AM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


If you're so damn keen on unrestricted immigration, SH, I suggest you lobby your own state to import criminals, instead of fobbing the problem off on my beleaguered nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:30 AM on January 30, 2013


Crime rate's been going down in Canada since the '90s and meanwhile, immigration is up 23% since then. Beleaguered how?
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:44 AM on January 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


If you're so damn keen on unrestricted immigration, SH, I suggest you lobby your own state to import criminals, instead of fobbing the problem off on my beleaguered nation.

Your comment sounds an insey wincey bit racist. Protip: you can read 'unbelievably fuckin' in place of 'insey wincey' if you wish.
posted by jaduncan at 9:58 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Over in Quebec, the same sort of public-private criminal partnership has been major news these past few months.

Those are old school Five Families guys. They're not exactly fresh off the boat.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:02 AM on January 30, 2013


It has become so bad that there is a two-degree separation between our (BC) provincial government and the outlaw gangs;

In Quebec, there is at best a one-degree separation, and more realistically a zero-degree separation. And yet I have never heard a single Roma name as being involved. (I don't believe any of the major players are recent immigrants, much less refugees.)

I am certainly all for reducing organised crime. I don't think that the way to do it is by restricting Roma refugees.
posted by jeather at 10:03 AM on January 30, 2013


Yeah, you need to keep the criminal gangs local... a thug of Scotts-Irish descent

Somewhere there's an Inuit or First Nations reader laughing ruefully.
posted by jaduncan at 10:04 AM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Dee extrovert, I don't understand medicine well enough to understand how it's possible to sterilize a woman without her knowlege. Could you please explain how this happens?

Roma woman goes in for a gynecological procedure, snip snip. She'll never know.

Type in "slovakia sterilization" to Google, and it autofills "roma" to that phrase. Happy reading.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 10:11 AM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Dee extrovert, I don't understand medicine well enough to understand how it's possible to sterilize a woman without her knowlege. Could you please explain how this happens?

You go in for an abortion or some such and they sterilize you. Or they get consent from Roma when they are super drugged up.

V.C. v. Slovakia (application no. 18968/07, ECtHR) would be an example of this. You'll be excited to know that the price to Slovakia for drugging someone up and then pushing them into sterilisation is 31,000 euros (EUR) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and EUR 12,000 for costs and expenses. Summary is here. And all they have to do to get the €31,000 is get to the ECtHR!
posted by jaduncan at 10:13 AM on January 30, 2013


The racism in this thread against a people who face daily violence and who were targeted for extermination during WW2 is disgusting. What a disgrace.
posted by Catchfire at 10:18 AM on January 30, 2013


If you're having to make baseless claims of racism, you're probably losing the argument.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:03 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you're having to make baseless claims of racism, you're probably losing the argument.

If you're trying to dismiss the suggestion that the targeting of a long-persecuted group that relies on the stereotypes of that group might have something to do with racism, you're probably missing the point?

Of course, the racism in this thread isn't directly only at the Roma, but that's what Catchfire's comment was about.
posted by hoyland at 11:09 AM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sorry, just a bit sensitive to Catchfire's broad brush, as he's already claimed "explicit[] racism" where there isn't any.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 11:17 AM on January 30, 2013


Sorry, just a bit sensitive to Catchfire's broad brush, as he's already claimed "explicit[] racism" where there isn't any.

If you're so damn keen on unrestricted immigration, SH, I suggest you lobby your own state to import criminals, instead of fobbing the problem off on my beleaguered nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 17:30 on January 30 [+] [!]

I would claim this as fairly blatantly racist given the context of Roma immigration and the criminal Roma stereotype.
posted by jaduncan at 11:43 AM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Occam's Razor tells us "2" is the answer.

If the options are to be kicked around like a stray dog between EU nations that have proven themselves hostile to the Romani, or to seek asylum in Canada, where they're just another immigrant community, treated with the same respect as other immigrants - even as bad as that is at times - they have overwhelmingly chosen Canada. If I were a Canadian, I'd be damn proud of this.

They may not be in as desperate need of asylum as the Hazara or Yezedi or Hmong or Sudanese Christians - but they're still in need of asylum.


The problem with this argument is that if any significantly discriminated against group should have the right to asylum in a first world country, that would mean, for example, the entire Christian population of Pakistan (2.8 million people, or 1.6% of the whole population) should be eligible for free relocation to western Europe or the US/Canada and other asylum-seeker accepting countries. This is clearly not financially feasible.
posted by thewalrus at 11:46 AM on January 30, 2013


Straw-man argument: If, in the arugment of some posters here, being discriminated against is the sole barrier to being a successful asylum seeker, does this mean that the US/Canada, Western Europe and AUS/NZ countries are legally obliged to accept the entire Dalit population of India? That's an estimated 166 million people, or about 16% of India's population.
posted by thewalrus at 11:48 AM on January 30, 2013


Does the Indian government discriminate against the Dalit population? If so, then yes.
posted by jb at 12:00 PM on January 30, 2013


Open-door immigration policy is not sustainable. We must be more selective and we must start kicking out the mobs, triads, cartels, and gangs.

For real, Five Fresh Fish? Permanent Residents (immigrants) who are convicted of serious crimes are deported. There are restrictions on immigration- so, so, many.

Not to say that there aren't immigrants who are criminals, or gangs associated with particular immigrant groups, but seriously what your saying just sounds like xenophobic clap-trap.

In fact, delinquency rates and crime rates are lowest amongst most recent immigrants to Canada. Here's an except from the article:

"Immigration as a whole has therefore been a part of steadily pushing down our national averages for crime. No less an authority than Toronto Police chief Bill Blair put it best, when he told a CBC editorial board recently that "immigration is good for crime rates.""
posted by beau jackson at 12:08 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


does this mean that the US/Canada, Western Europe and AUS/NZ countries are legally obliged to accept the entire Dalit population of India? That's an estimated 166 million people, or about 16% of India's population.

What an absurd statement and a scary display if ignorance on how refugee claims and the displacement of people actually work, especially since you allegedly work in the system. First, it's underwritten by the assumption that refugees would prefer to leave their homes in their country of origin, rather than being impelled to leave because of violence or other harm.

Second, you phrase this is if Canada's responsibility to a vulnerable community in India is a fundamentally absurd relation. Despite the shared histories of colonialism as members of the British Empire, the rich South Asian communities which are part of Canada's national narrative, the extensive, deliberate economic strategy Canada has to drive industry and investment in India, and, of course, our current role in destabilizing the region because of our imperial adventures in Afghanistan and diplomatic pressures on Pakistan, Iran, among others.

In truth, accepting a few million refugees from this area is the least Canada could do toward fulfilling its obligations in this respect.
posted by Catchfire at 12:41 PM on January 30, 2013


It's absurd to consider that Canada could reasonably accept "a few million" refugees when the entire yearly immigration intake in all categories is between 300,000 to 400,000 new persons.

I won't even dignify the part where you call Canada's involvement in Afghanistan an "imperial adventure" with a detailed response. I've spent multiple years living and working in Afghanistan, have you? Would you prefer that it was run by the Taliban?
posted by thewalrus at 12:49 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Doesn't the Taliban already run Afghanistan? Are they the only other option? As for your general missing the point, you're right that there is virtually no chance of a couple million Indians becoming refugees. Unless you believe everyone in the world wants to discard their home and culture for Canada.
posted by Catchfire at 1:02 PM on January 30, 2013


Huh, an issue about this came up on my work list-serv today.

Failed Roma refugee claimants lost their social assistance, because there's a deportation order. But there's a delay in deporting them, they don't know why. So now there's an internal review request put out by a community legal clinic, which could end up going to a hearing. All told hundreds if not thousands of dollars in government-funded services going to determine whether they should be getting social assistance now - the policy is clear that if they're not being deported because of "reasons beyond their control" they are entitled.

This is where the money is really going. Denials of social assistance that are clearly wrong, and even if they weren't, on a cost-benefit analysis wouldn't be worth fighting. Bureaucracy, man.
posted by Lemurrhea at 1:10 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is the actual situation right now, without judgment on whether it's right of wrong: CBSA has relatively limited number of enforcement personnel assigned to actually deporting people, compared to the backlog of people who've exhausted all appeals. Many people who have been unsuccessful asylum claimants for whatever reason disappear into the grey-market cash economy and are not located for years, if ever. Under Kenney and Vic Toews, CBSA's location-enforcement-deportation staff are focused more on locating and deporting criminals on their most wanted list rather than run of the mill Roma or other unsuccessful claimants with deportation orders hanging over their heads.
posted by thewalrus at 1:26 PM on January 30, 2013


Canada is host to huge numbers of transnational organized crime members. It's destination #1 for them: a huge market a few hours south and a police and justice system that is easily exploited. Organized crime is flourishing in this country.

Feel free to google it. You'll find good resources: government commissions, police commissions, investigative journalism, etc.

The bottom line is that Canada made it far too easy for gang members to immigrate, allowed gang activity to proliferate, and now has a huge problem.

That problem, btw, is also an American problem. Those imports are exported to the USA, along with the front-line violence of local distribution and sales.

Canada desperately needs immigration reform. Fifty-plus years of open-door policy has been a huge, destructive mistake.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:45 PM on January 30, 2013


Fifty-plus years of open-door policy has been a huge, destructive mistake.

Except that crime rates have gone down over time, so your claim is baseless.
posted by Sternmeyer at 2:02 PM on January 30, 2013


You say that like you think it's a meaningful metric. It isn't.

First, a successful gang is one that doesn't get busted; the lack of prosecuted crime does not indicate the gang doesn't exist.

Second, the majority of violence takes place in sales and distribution, ie. in the US, not Canada.

Third, your stat relies on people reporting crimes. Report rates are down, because our cops are useless. For instance, my next-door neighbour has a grow op. if I report that, I put myself at risk. So I don't. That doesn't mean there is no criminal activity in my neighbourhood.

Go google. Learn something about what is really going on.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:19 PM on January 30, 2013


Maybe your argument wouldn't make you sound so racist if it didn't essentially boil down to

a) Canada has a lot of crime;
b) It is caused by immigrants;
c) We should stop immigration/"importing criminals";
d) I shall handwave away the stats saying crime has gone down because REASONS*;
e) did I mention we shouldn't have any immigrants because b).

That is not a new argument, it's a very classically racist argument. The dismissal of stats for what 'everybody knows' is going on is also classic demagoguery. Frankly, I thought you were better than this.

* please note that crime surveys don't only deal with reported crime
posted by jaduncan at 2:38 PM on January 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


Go google. Learn something about what is really going on.

That's exactly what I did, and the results said that crime was going down, as I already suspected. Not sure what you think I should google other than "is crime increasing or decreasing in Canada".

Let me ask you this. What data (that you would trust) would change your mind about immigrants being a major cause of crime in Canada?
posted by Sternmeyer at 2:53 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:17 PM on January 30, 2013


Most academics have a more precise cite than a search for "organised crime Canada" in Google Scholar. Call us picky.
posted by jaduncan at 3:25 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Could you be any less specific in your search terms, fff? "organized crime canada"? No one's suggesting organized crime doesn't exist in Canada. You'll have to do better than that.

Got anything relevant to the Hungarian Roma refugee issue we're discussing? That'd be a good start.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:25 PM on January 30, 2013


OK, you've established that there is organized crime in Canada. Mind showing me the data that supports your hypothesis that immigrants are a major source of increased crime in Canada even though crime is going down by any reputable measure?

Alternatively, please tell me what data (that you would trust) would change your mind about immigrants being a major cause of crime in Canada.
posted by Sternmeyer at 3:28 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the actual situation right now, without judgment on whether it's right of wrong: CBSA has relatively limited number of enforcement personnel assigned to actually deporting people, compared to the backlog of people who've exhausted all appeals.

This is absolutely true. My hunch is that this is part of the bullshit "starve the government" stuff - the government resists increasing the number of people working for it, and now points to the failure as a means to curb immigration (in this case from specific locales) rather than look at the system carefully to see what needs improvement.

IOW, I think that we're always going to have refugee claimants, a lot of them, with a high number of failures. Stepping up the time-frame for deportation is a value-neutral way of solving that problem.
posted by Lemurrhea at 3:33 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


This, too.. Note the large number of nationalities identified as keen participants in our criminal underworld. Those would be people who have immigrated to Canada.

We have always had more than enough problem with our own home-grown gangsters. We have been foolish to make it so easy for foreign gangs to flock here unimpeded.

Lax immigration laws caused a lot of this problem. Typical of Canada, we will first try to fix the problem in a completely clumsy manner. Hopefully, we'll soon try to do it in a smart and effective manner.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:42 PM on January 30, 2013


So that's a 'no' on anything relevant, then?
posted by Sys Rq at 3:55 PM on January 30, 2013


From your linked article, five fresh fish:

Social critics in both Canada and the United States increasingly view organized crime as a product, not of immigration per se or other international influences, but of social, political and economic cleavages within North American society itself.

Food for thought? Or did the author get that wrong, in your eyes?

Another quote from the same article:

Similarly, the multi-ethnic character of organized crime is a reflection of the multicultural nature of Canadian society. This is aggravated by historically rooted institutionalized racism in Canada (and the United States) whereby certain racial or “ethnic” groups—the Irish, Jews, Chinese, Italians, Hispanics, Jamaicans, aboriginals—have been serially shut out of legitimate economic opportunities en masse and therefore have turned to the underground economy to eke out a living.

Your article seems to say that the cause of this supposed wave of organized crime isn't immigration, but racism and poor social policy.

If you have a moment, could you tell me what data (that you would trust) would change your mind about immigrants being a major cause of crime in Canada?
posted by Sternmeyer at 4:02 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


A damning report of our immigration control failures.

Very few immigrants are gangsters. But it takes very few gangsters to create an immense problem.

Transnational crime requires criminal element connections between nations. These connections are with fellow countrymen. People that are known and trusted by the criminals. In other words, between immigrants and their homeland.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:10 PM on January 30, 2013


A damning report of our immigration control failures.

Would you care to be more specific? It's a document from 1990. I'm not sure how damning it can be 23 years later.
posted by hoyland at 4:16 PM on January 30, 2013


Very few immigrants are gangsters. But it takes very few gangsters to create an immense problem.

Probably a bad idea to have a base assumption that immigrants in general are gangsters then.
posted by jaduncan at 4:19 PM on January 30, 2013


That's a 23 year old report, and it doesn't actually say anywhere in the section you linked that immigrants are a major cause of crime in Canada.

What data (that you would trust) would change your mind about immigrants being a major cause of crime in Canada?
posted by Sternmeyer at 4:20 PM on January 30, 2013


Another damning report..

We export crime to the US. If all that shit were being sold in Canada, we'd see a much higher crime rate. Count a thousand-tonne haul of heroin as the tens of thousands of crimes it creates in its ultimate marketplace, and we'd come off a lot less classy.

Canada does not do adequate screening of its immigrants. Those few who fail our perfunctory screening are allowed to re-apply immediately. Heck, we even help them win appeals — known, acknowledged criminals, given help by Canadians to come to Canada.

And I haven't even touched upon the problems we face with our own citizen gangsters. The Hell's Angels, for instance: we've the highest per capita membership, they've infiltrated the RCMP and routinely access the cop databases, and they're becoming brutally violent.

We have a serious criminality problem in this country and we've done nothing but shoot ourselves in the foot.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:26 PM on January 30, 2013


What data (that you would trust) would change your mind about immigrants being a major cause of crime in Canada?

Try finding any data on it. Good luck.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:27 PM on January 30, 2013


Which is to say I've read about the lower rate of crime for first-gen immigrants. What I can't find is info on under-reporting (1st gen not wanting to involve police), police bias, immigration dept stats re: criminals rejected, stats on the composition of transnational syndicates operating in Canada, CSIS stats on pretty much anything, etc.

In essence, the Canadian government and its security apparatus has ignored the problem of organized crime for decades, and has utterly failed to create, monitor and analyse immigration data.

250000+ immigrants a year, 90% of whom are not scrutinized, and I believe I read that 60% of those who are rejected simply disappear illegally into our population.

It only takes a few hundred organized crime members to create a huge trafficking problem.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:56 PM on January 30, 2013


90% of our immigrants are "not scrutinized"? You are grossly unfamiliar with what it takes for a person to get Permanent Resident status, then.
posted by thewalrus at 6:10 PM on January 30, 2013


...police bias...

Wait... you think the police are avoiding investigating criminality by immigrants? That would make them mighty strange policemen.
posted by hoyland at 6:11 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yup. But that's Canada's cops for you. They don't give a shit about dead prostitutes, either. Or natives.
posted by five fresh fish at 6:29 PM on January 30, 2013


Canada's crime rate is the lowest it has been since 1972. Posters in this thread have claimed that people are not reporting crimes (such as weed grows), I counter with the argument that nationwide computer databases and regionally shared police databases (such as that used by eComm, the 911 dispatch system for the greater Vancouver area) mean that significantly more crimes are now being reported and entered into permanent record-keeping database systems than 15+ years ago in the era of paper and pencil.
posted by thewalrus at 6:46 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Canada's crime rate is the lowest it has been since 1972.

That's quite heartening. On my once every two or three year visits back to Canada, I am inevitably struck by the amount of crime that's being reported on the news, and how much more prevalent and violent it seems compared to decades earlier when I lived there.

I actually hadn't considered -- much as I know that it's the case in America -- that it's more a change in the way the TV 'news' business works than it is a change for the worse in levels of violence on the ground.

That makes me happy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:54 PM on January 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


If one were to listen to Sun News, Canada's Fox News/Daily Mail of the airwaves, an uninformed viewer might think that all of Canada is in a crime situation comparable to Caracas, Venezuela.

If it bleeds, it leads.
posted by thewalrus at 7:00 PM on January 30, 2013 [2 favorites]



I’ve worked with refugee claimants and immigrants for many years. Overall, I don’t like the government’s approach to IRB reform. I admit it’s not an easy system to administer but I would rather we ensure, as an unshakeable priority, that people who need protection are well-served, even if it means that we err on the side of generosity.
Take these examples (similar to real cases, but modified for anonymity):
1. A (perceived to be) wealthy family fled their country because a para-military group tried to extort money from them. The para-military group had already followed through with their threat to kill one of their children.
2. A woman’s husband was murdered for his political beliefs. She is also a target, and somehow was smuggled into Canada. She’s pregnant with her first child.

It think it’s the least we can do to offer these people residency in our country. That they have the right to freedom of movement and a work permit, as well as social services (welfare) is a good thing. I think that most people would agree that we should provide some kind of comprehensive health insurance (which we did, until recently).

It’s not an exaggeration to say that this system save lives. (think also of the Jewish people we turned away in the 1930s and 40s). In a way I’m proud that it’s one of the most generous, but there is SO MUCH incentive for abuse. I do not envy the government’s job of administering the refugee determination system.

In the case of the pregnant woman (near to a real case, similar to many others, I’m sure), most Canadians would agree that we should provide her comprehensive health insurance. But our government has cut most health insurance for refugee claimants as an effort to dis-incentivize their coming. Meanwhile, legitimate refugees are suffering and lacking medical care. I would like to see me efforts that address underlying reasons for fraudulent and/or frivolous claims, rather than this heavy-handed approach that punished everyone, including refugees who really need our help.

Perhaps the new speediness of the IRB will help legitimate refugees get protection more quickly. I hope that this is the case. But I am concerned that people who legitimately need protection, including many Roma claimants, are basically going to be trampled.
posted by beau jackson at 7:13 PM on January 30, 2013


Which is to say I've read about the lower rate of crime for first-gen immigrants. What I can't find is info on under-reporting (1st gen not wanting to involve police), police bias, immigration dept stats re: criminals rejected, stats on the composition of transnational syndicates operating in Canada, CSIS stats on pretty much anything, etc.

In essence, the Canadian government and its security apparatus has ignored the problem of organized crime for decades, and has utterly failed to create, monitor and analyse immigration data.


So you have no information on the actual stats, but are somehow sure that the Canadian government has "utterly failed" to analyse data? How would you know? That's even setting aside the very likely prospect that the police/security services consider much of their tactics in this matter operationally sensitive (for obvious reasons) and do not release them for that reason.

You're making a very broad statement that Canadian police and intelligence have failed at what is a classical humint function without any data at all.

Yup. But that's Canada's cops for you. They don't give a shit about dead prostitutes, either. Or natives.

Yeah, I suspect most of the cops just actively avoid those career-making large organised crime busts.

Hamburger/Royale with cheese
posted by jaduncan at 8:01 PM on January 30, 2013


90% of whom are not scrutinized

OBLIGATORY SIMPSONS QUOTE: "Aw, people can come up with statistics to prove anything, Kent. Forty percent of all people know that."

fff, nobody is going to be able to reason you out of a racist stance that you didn't reason yourself into. People are presenting you with actual cited stats and arguments and you are just making stuff up and posting random newspaper opeds and mostly-unrelated papers.

Gah. I'm bowing out of this thread for reasons of teeth gnashing and irritation, and because I think you have made the most racist set of comments I've seen on metafilter and it is making me want to break things.
posted by jaduncan at 8:16 PM on January 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


CSIS concedes 9/10 immigrant applicants not screened.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 PM on January 30, 2013


That is soooo not what that says.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:08 PM on January 30, 2013 [1 favorite]



five fresh fish CSIS concedes 9/10 immigrant applicants not screened.

Sys Rq That is soooo not what that says.


To be precise, FFF just posted the title of the article, so incorrect editorializing should be ascribed to www.canada.com

From that link:

Jack Hooper, deputy director of operations for the service, told a Senate national security committee about 20,000 immigrants have come from the Afghanistan/Pakistan region to Canada since 2001.

''We're in a position to vet one-tenth of those,'' he said. ''That may be inadequate.''

Asked if that meant CSIS wasn't completely satisfied about 90 per cent of the immigrants coming into the country from that region, Hooper responded ''that's correct.''


It doesn't say whether CSIS is the agency that vets all immigrants to Canada, or just specifically ones coming from areas deemed high risk, like Pakistan and Afghanistan. The article is also from 2006, and is focusing on immigration concerns related to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.
posted by dubold at 4:51 AM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Of course, Mr Hooper is the man quoted as saying "'We have cases of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants converting to the most radical forms of Islam,'' he said. ''These are people who blend in with us and our neighbours.'' in the article, so I'm not actually sure I'd trust him to have not caused the backlog by assuming Muslims must be terrorists.
posted by hoyland at 10:04 AM on January 31, 2013


CSIS is best thought of as the equivalent to the CIA.* They focus on terror / espionage / etc.

So they wouldn't vet all immigrants. Presumably they wouldn't even be tasked with high-risk areas, but their mandate would have some minor overlap with those vetting immigrants. That's why using them as a source is problematic - they might be only vetting 10% of who they need to vet, but that's not really an immigration issue.

*If I remember my spy thrillers correct, the CIA can't operate domestically on counter-terror, which is done by the FBI. CSIS can. Not a major difference, though.
posted by Lemurrhea at 10:06 AM on January 31, 2013


CSIS isn't like the CIA, actually, it's much more like the intelligence and terrorism parts of the FBI. The CIA is a foreign intelligence organisation; it operates over seas and spies on other countries. CSIS is a domestic security organisation which isn't supposed to spy on other countries, but rather winkle out threats to Canada (although it sometimes does this by sending people to other countries).

The big difference between CSIS and the FBI, though, is that the FBI is a police organisation. Although CSIS is descended from the counterintelligence branch of the mounties, it's purely an intelligence organisation, like MI5.
posted by Dreadnought at 3:51 PM on January 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


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