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Canada outlines refugee security measures to U.S. Senate committee

Canada outlines refugee security measures to U.S. Senate committee

In advance of a U.S. Senate committee meeting next week about “Canada’s Fast-Track Refugee Plan: Unanswered Questions and Implications for U.S. National Security,” the Canadian government has sent committee members a note outlining nine security measures the Canadian government has taken, according to a report by the National Post.

The U.S. Senate homeland-security hearing will hear concerns next week about Canada`s plan to quickly accept 25,000 Syrian refugees.

The Canadian embassy had also been invited to testify but declined referencing the long-standing practice of avoiding appearances in the U.S. Senate. Instead, Canada`s ambassador to the United States, Gary Doer outlined in a note the security measures the Canadian government has taken including the collection of biometric information from refugees; a zero-acceptance policy when doubts surface about any individual candidate; use of U.S. security databases; the prioritization of low-risk refugees like women and families; and the fact that the refugees would be non-citizens for years, and couldn’t travel to the U.S. without visas.

In the letter that was written last week, Doer told the committee: “Rest assured that no corners, including security screening, are being cut in order to achieve the government’s objectives. Rather, the government has devoted significant resources to this effort.”

Opposition Members of Parliament are warning the government to handle the file carefully.

“I think this committee has been struck because there are legitimate concerns,” commented Conservative MP and immigration critic Michelle Rempel. “I think it’s incumbent on the Canadian government to assure our largest ally to the south that the screening processes we have put in place are adequate…. Not just for their purposes, but for assuring the Canadian public that all rigour and processes have been put in place.”

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