Thousands of people who fled to Canada to avoid President Donald Trump’s onslaught on illegal migrants are now trapped in limbo.
These refugees were afraid of being deported and detained by immigration officers at upcoming check-ins. This is despite some of them working and living in the U.S. legally.
According to Reuters, majority of the refugees are having a hard time finding jobs since their asylum cases are yet to be approved by Canada’s maxed-out refugee system.
Previously unpublished Immigration and Refugee Board data has revealed that it is taking longer to complete refugee claims as compared to previous years.
And it gets even worse for the refugees. From 2015 to 2016, delayed hearings have already more than doubled, the number is expected to rise again in 2017. Illegal immigrants entering Canada increased by three times in March as compared to January.
In January, Canada received 3500 asylum seekers from the United States. These additional refugees only made matters worse for the nation’s refugee system since it was already struggling with thousands of previous applications.
The refugees are having to deal with a number of challenges in their new environment, for instance, it’s hard to get housing since landlords have doubts whether they can afford their rent. They are also can’t land a job with ease because they lack a claimant’s legal status in Canada. It is also difficult to update professional or academic credentials to match with the requirements in the nation. In addition, students’ loans are hard to come by.
According to government statistics, this year is on track to become the highest year for refugee claims since at least 2011. On average, the year has been taking 5.6 months. In general, asylum cases have been known to take longer to finalize.
As it stands, Canada simply can’t handle the bulk of the cases in a timely manner because it lacks the required resources and manpower. In an effort to try to get through the backlog in security screenings, border agents have been working overtime.
More than 15,000 people who have filed claims in 2017 will have to wait even longer for their cases to be heard because the government is currently directing its energy into clearing a backlog of about 24,000 claimants.
On the bright side, Canada’s refugees’ tribunal has accelerated the process for people escaping from war torn nations like Syria (their cases will not be subjected to hearings.) This is a move aimed at speeding up the overflowing cases.
Despite the overwhelming number of asylum seekers, the government is determined to get through as many claimants as possible. It remains to be seen how the nation will react to this change in the near future.