Canada rejects US security concerns over Syrian refugee plan

Canada rejects US security concerns over its fast-track refugee plan for Syrians as US Senate in Washington organises to hold meeting on effects of plan for US

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Clothing donated for the expected influx of Syrian refugees is sorted by volunteers at a theatre rehearsal space in Toronto November 24, 2015.

Canada rejected on Wednesday the US security concerns about its fast-tracked resettlement of a number of Syrian refugees, as the US Senate in Washington is preparing to discuss the potential effect of the plan for America.

Canada's Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told the parliament, "We have put in place layers of security activity to ensure that our refugee initiative with respect to Syria can be successful."

"The program is working well and indeed it will resolve in something that Canadians can be very, very proud of," he said in reply to questions regarding why the Ottawa government refused an invitation to appear before the US Senate hearing.

The US congressional panel will gather next Wednesday to evaluate "Canada's Fast-Track Refugee Plan: Unanswered Questions and Implications for US National Security."

It is planning to hear from a Toronto immigration lawyer who has slammed Canada's plan, identifying as being unrealistic.

Goodale stated that the US authorities have been broadly informed on Canada's refugee resettlement plan "and they understand exactly the layers of security screening that are in place," involving UN procedures over asylum seekers, gathering of biometrics and controls against security databases.

A spokeswoman for Canada's foreign affairs minister also said, "We have emphasized and will continue to emphasize the integrity and robustness of our approach to the selection and screening of the Syrian refugees under consideration."

Canada's government promised to take in 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of February. The number is more than double of what US took in up until now.

By the end of Dec. 31, 2015, only 6,000 Syrians had arrived in Canada from camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey.

According to the Canadian government's official website, an additional 5,197 refugee applications have been finalised and 16,347 resettlement applications are in progress.

According to the UN refugee agency figures, more than four million Syrians have fled the war in their country, which started in 2011 and caused the death of at least 260,000 people.

TRTWorld and agencies