Canada’s efforts to enhance the security and integrity of its immigration have been highlighted by Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism in a speech at a major conference on border control in the United Kingdom.
‘The first responsibility of the state is to protect the safety and security of its citizens. By developing laws, policies, and practices that make our immigration system more secure, we believe we are helping to ensure continuing support for that system,’ he told the conference.
The inaugural BORDERPOL Conference, hosted by the UK Border Force, is a leading forum for international sharing of experiences and best practices among specialists in the border control industry. The two day event is the first of its kind.
Kenney spoke alongside Mark Harper, the UK Minister of State for Immigration. Delivering his address to an audience composed of border management, immigration, customs and security policy makers and practitioners, he highlighted Canada’s integrity measures in border and migration management.
‘When I became Minister, I was acutely aware that Canada had a reputation, fairly or not, as an international soft touch when it came to immigration and border security. In recent years, we have worked very hard to change this impression. We have done so, in part, by introducing a good number of tough but fair initiatives to bolster the security of our immigration system,’ Kenney explained.
He spoke of the many changes to Canada’s immigration system, including stronger laws to combat human smuggling, reforms to deter unfounded refugee claims and other abuses of the refugee determination system and cracking down on immigration fraud.
He also mentioned the tabling of a new law that would allow Canada to remove foreign criminals more quickly by limiting appeal mechanisms, proposed tougher penalties for those who commit immigration fraud and the introduction of biometric screening of visitors to Canada.
Kenney also told the audience about recent efforts to crack down on fraud and abuse in Canada’s immigration system, including residency fraud and fraudulent asylum claims, help restore Canadians’ faith in the immigration system, which ultimately allows Canada to continue to have the most generous system in the world.
He pointed out that since 2006 the Canadian government has maintained the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history.
‘Canadians are rightly proud of our generous approach to refugee protection. As one example, at a time when other countries are reducing their programmes to resettle refugees from overseas, Canada maintains one of the largest such programmes in the world,’ Kenney said.
He added that Canada takes its international obligations seriously, cooperating with other countries in sharing policy and operational experiences, as well as increasingly sharing information and intelligence.
On his current trip to Europe he has met with immigration and law enforcement experts in Hungary, Sweden and the UK to discuss the shared challenges of facilitating legal migration while combating illegal immigration, which is often associated with organised criminal activity and human smuggling operations.