Thursday, 24 January 2013

Is it not our right as taxpayers to expect reasonable security at our borders?

Dear Readers,

Today I bring you and article by Nicholas Keung, the Immigration Reporter for the Toronto Star, published on Thursday January 24, 2013 entitled 'Immigration backlog: Anti-fraud measures add years to citizenship process'. Once again, it is presented verbatim, below is my response and below that, room for your comment, unless you prefer to send an email but please keep your comments smart and civil. Don't attack others personally, and keep your language decent.

Mana Golnazi, an Iranian engineer, had already passed her citizenship exam when she was asked in Juy to leap another hurdle on her way to citizenship: a residence questionnaire. She has since learned it will take up to four years before it's assessed.                                                     SUPPLIED PHOTO

Extra scrutiny introduced by Ottawa to crack down on citizenship fraud means thousands of immigrants will have to wait as long as nine years to become full-fledged citizens. Until recently, immigrants with permanent resident status had to wait three years before filing a citizenship application, which would then take about 21 months to process in routine cases — for a total of about five years.

Last May, the federal government introduced a more rigorous “residence questionnaire” for some applicants, to establish proof that they’ve actually been present in Canada. Applicants were told the detailed four-page forms — which must be accompanied by proof such as tax returns, pay stubs, and airline tickets to document even brief absences — would take 15 months to process.

But this month, those applicants are learning they’ll have to wait four more years to get their files assessed.
Mana Golnazi, a Toronto engineer who came here from Iran in 2008, calls the process “frustrating.”
“We feel like we are held hostage by the government,” she said.

Golnazi, 33, was asked to fill out the questionnaire after she passed the citizenship test in July. She was shocked when she called to get an update on her application and was told she’d have to wait 48 months.
“I went to school here. I work hard. I pay taxes. I volunteer in the community. I am a good citizen. Where’s my rights after all these years?” said Golnazi, an IT business analyst.

“I can’t vote in the system that I’ve been contributing to. I do what good citizens do, but they don’t want to give me the same rights.” Many citizenship applicants have expressed similar frustration and anger about the delay on online forums. Golnazi — an avid volunteer for The Weekend to End Women’s Cancer, the Terry Fox Run and the Salvation Army — said she has been out of Canada only twice since her arrival, for a total of 28 days.

She took a vacation to England and visited her mother, who was battling cancer in Tehran.
Applicants can travel outside Canada, but need to obtain visas with the passport of their home country, which can be inconvenient and costly. According to the immigration department, about 60,000 citizenship applications were referred for further examination between May 7 and Sept. 28, 2012. Of those applicants, 11,000 were asked to fill out the questionnaires.

“When a residence questionnaire and further investigations are involved, it is no longer routine ... The time needed to process non-routine cases varies from one case to another,” said department spokesperson Paul Northcott, adding that officials don’t keep track of the processing time of these cases. Officials could not say how they decide which applicants must complete the questionnaire. Neither could they provide statistics on the rate of acceptance or rejection for those who fill it out.

Alexis Pavlich, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s spokesperson, said the Conservative government has admitted a higher number of permanent residents each year than the previous Liberal government, which has put pressure on citizenship processing times. “Our government is committed to protecting the value of Canadian citizenship, which is why we are cracking down on residency and citizenship fraud,” Pavlich said in an email.

“This increased scrutiny has produced longer wait times in some cases, but will result in a cleaner, faster system in the long run.” MP Kevin Lamoureux, the Liberals’ immigration critic, said there are more than 300,000 permanent residents with citizenship applications in the backlog. “These processing times are totally unacceptable. We have thousands of potential citizens who are being denied the right to vote,” he said.

Palestinian immigrant Wael Saadeddin Gharbiyeh was sponsored to Canada by his Canadian wife in 2000. He passed his citizenship test in April 2010 but was handed the residence questionnaire after an officer questioned him about having an expired passport from Jordan. Gharbiyeh, who has a degree in accounting and finance from the South Illinois University Carbondale, calls the immigration department regularly for updates. Last August, he was told it would take 15 months for his file to be assessed.

When he called again in early January, the department said the wait time now stands at 48 months.
“I feel betrayed. They can’t put my life on hold like this,” said the Toronto father of two. “We are not asking to jump the queue, nor are we asking to be granted citizenship without scrutiny. What we are asking for is a reasonable time frame for the processing of our citizenship applications.”

Each year, 160,000 people receive Canadian citizenship. But the refusal rate has crept up over the past five years, from 1.4 per cent to 3.5 per cent. Besides passing the citizenship test, applicants must have basic command of English or French, and no criminal record.

Residents of a quiet east-Toronto neighbourhood are stunned to learn that terrorist Omar Khadr may be moving into their picturesque, tree-lined street when he returns to Canada.
                                       TOM GODFREY | QMI AGENCY on May 11th, 2012

my response.....                                                        

With all due respect to Miss Golzani, obtaining Canadian citizenship is a privilege and not a right! Her right to citizenship rests with Iran but if she chooses to make Canada her home, wouldn't she be best advised to follow the surprisingly simple process for becoming a Canadian citizen, assuming that facts and circumstances are on her side and she doesn't fail to meet minimum requirements?

Momin Khawaja leaves the Ottawa courthouse under RCMP protection on May 3, 2004. The constitutionality of Canada's anti-terror law comes under the microscope Friday when the Supreme Court of Canada delivers a series of major rulings on the legal definition of terrorism.
                                                     photo Tom Hanson, the Canadian Press

Some taxpayers, like Marilyn say, "We finally have a government in place that is prepared to tackle the Liberal's immigration mess and to better protect Canadians from immigration fraud. Canada has been subject to extensive abuse by 'Canadians of convenience' and is deemed to be the sucker of the world for having such lax immigration policies. This must stop.

Said Namouh is an unrepentant terrorist. From his apartment in Quebec, he spread al-Qaeda propaganda over the Internet and posted anonymous messages threatening the West with “slaughter” and urging violence until “religion will be for Allah alone."  by Stewart Bell, National Post

Veeh says, "Wait times up to 10 years are NOT uncommon. There are nations where newcomers are NEVER permitted to apply for citizenship. Canada has seen its hospitality abused in the past by those who use this nation as a 'safe haven' after 'freedom-fighting for their homelands'. This is about national security. Let's do it right. Reduce complaints by reducing immigration numbers? Prefer that, would you?"

Fawzi Ayub is a 45-year-old member of Hezbollah who uses the alias Frank Boschi and “should be considered armed and dangerous,” according to his entry on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list. He is also a Canadian.            by Stewart Bell, National Post

With so many horror stories about undesirables gaining entry in the not-to-distant past, is it not our right as taxpayers to expect reasonable security at our borders?

 bio at
twitter chatter....
Is it not our right as taxpayers to expect reasona... 
what happened?    

No comments:

Post a Comment