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Unlike US, Canada's Syrian Refugee Policy Shows Reason and Humanity. By Roger Algase

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In contrast to American politicians who are demonizing and scapegoating Syrian refugees, as shown by two bills in Congress (H. 4038 and S. 2284) which are based on an assumption that all Muslims are inherently so violent and dangerous that effective refugee security screening is virtually impossible (see my two previous posts), Canada is adopting a refugee policy based on reason and humanity.

The Toronto Star reports on November 29 that the Canadian government plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by the end of February, 2016. Since the US population of 300 million people is about nine times as big as Canada's population of 35 million, this would be roughly equivalent to admitting 225,000 Syrian refugees to the US over the same period.

If US policy toward Syrian refugees were based on reality, instead of xenophobia and paranoia over possible terrorist attacks which very few, if any, of the estimated more than 700,000 refugees America has accepted within the last few decades have had the slightest connection with, 225,000 would be the minimum number of Syrian refugees this country could accept and absorb.

(According to one estimate, the US has accepted 3.25 million refugees since 1975. See http://www.vox.com/world/2015/11/18/...rs-of-refugees)

Instead, the Obama administration is offering to admit only 10,000 Syrian refugees over a period of two years, and even this tiny gesture in the direction of compassion and humanity is running into furious opposition in Congress, as in the House and Senate bills mentioned above.

(I have already discussed the House bill in my previous posts. The Senate bill, which would allow a highly polarized and politicized Congress to overrule even the most careful and intensive Syrian refugee screening by the intelligence community through passing a binding "Resolution of Disapproval", will be discussed in more detail in an upcoming post.)

The Toronto Star reports that the Canadian Syrian refugee resettlement program has already been launched by opening a refugee processing center in Amman Jordan on November 29, under the eye of the Canadian immigration minister and other federal cabinet ministers who traveled to Jordan for the opening. 90 people were put through the multi-step screening process on the first day and told that the process should be completed in time for them to travel to Canada by this coming February. See:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2...in-jordan.html

In another move to help Syrian refugees, the Canadian government has agreed to exempt them from having to pay back the cost of their resettlement, a requirement which applies to refugees from other countries. See

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2...n-program.html

What could explain the difference between the decency and humanity shown by the Canadian government toward Syrian refugees and the contrasting attitudes of so many American Senators, Representatives state governors and presidential candidates? Do the Canadian intelligence officials have more access to databases and background information about the the refugees than American officials? Not very likely.

The only difference is that the Canadians are evidently motivated more by good will and respect for basic human rights than US politicians, who seem to have other priorities regarding Syrian refugee policies.

Moreover, while comparing American and Canadian refugee policies may appear to be only an academic exercise at the moment, there could come a time when Canadian refugee procedures might become something of more practical concern to a substantial number of Americans if fears about Donald Trump's immigration and other related policies, as expressed by a number of leading US conservative commentators (forget about the liberals and immigration advocates) ever come to fruition. See

http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/24/politi...-trump-fascism
______________________________
Roger Algase is a New York immigration lawyer and a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. For more than 35 years, he has been helping mainly professional and skilled immigrants obtain work visas, green cards and US citizenship.

Roger does not practice in the area of refugee or asylum law, but he believes that his comments concerning these issues are relevant in combating attempts to stigmatize and scapegoat all immigrants, including but not limited to H-1B, L-1, O-1 and other highly skilled and educated employees and entrepreneurs, by adopting overly restrictive immigration policies in the United States.

Roger's email address is algaselex@gmail.com








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Updated 11-30-2015 at 10:31 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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