One in 10 Black people living in the U.S. are immigrants, new study shows

By way of comparison, the percent of Blacks in Canada who are immigrants is 52 percent:

The demographics of America’s Black population are in the middle of a major shift, with 1 in 10 having been born outside the United States. That’s 4.6 million Americans, a figure that is projected to grow to 9.5 million by 2060, according to the findings of a Pew Research Center study published Thursday.

“When we talk about the nation’s Black population, we have to understand it is one that is changing and becoming even more diverse than it already was, and immigrants are a big part of that story and so the immigrant experience is a growing part of the experience of Black Americans today,” said Mark Lopez, Pew’s director of race and ethnicity research.

Black immigrants and their American-born children make up 21 percent of the nation’s Black population, with an increasing number of migrants coming from Africa, according to the report. Lopez said it’s a group that often is overlooked in discussions about immigration.

Source: One in 10 Black people living in the U.S. are immigrants, new study shows

In the story of Ethiopian Jewish immigration, is Israel really the hero?

Of interest:

When we hear about racism or discrimination in Israel, it is usually about Jewish-Arab relations. It is far more rare that we hear the complicated story of Beta Israel, the Ethiopian Jewish community, who also face discrimination in the country. Usually, if we hear anything about their plight, we hear of Israel heroically airlifting thousands of Ethiopian Jews out of the country in covert operations. The truth of the story if far more complicated.

“With No Land,” a documentary about the Ethiopian Jews and their immigration to Israel, directed by Ethiopian immigrant Aalam-Warqe Davidian and Israeli native Kobi Davidian, a husband-wife filmmaker pair, sheds some light on the complexities involved in the Ethiopian Aliyah, giving far greater agency to the Ethiopian activists who worked to evacuate their community.

“I was astonished to hear a lot of stories about their work and their struggle to come to Israel,” Davidian told the Times of Israel in an interview about the documentary. “What I learned [growing up] is that they didn’t do anything, we just came and took them.”

Discourse around Operation Moses and Operation Solomon, the missions which airlifted thousands of Ethiopian Jews to Israel, often portray Israel as the heroic rescuers of a persecuted Jewish minority. But in fact, activists from Beta Israel had to push the Israeli government to help their community immigrate, especially after the Israeli Ministry of Absorption decreed that they were foreign to the Jewish people and thus ineligible to make aliyah under the Law of Return; that decision was reversed in 1977 after hard advocacy work.

Even once the first major wave of Ethiopian migrants arrived in Israel after Operation Moses, in 1984, they did not find the safety and welcome they had hoped for. Activist Adiso Masala recalls being taken, without explanation or consent as almost none of the Ethiopian refugees spoke Hebrew, to a room to be vaccinated — and, it turned out, re-circumcised; the circumcisions only ceased after more than a month of protests.

The documentary interviews many of the major players in the movement to evacuate Beta Israel, largely Ethiopian Jews, discussing the larger politics at play that impacted the waves of immigration. Operation Moses, for example, depended on secrecy; a fragile agreement with Sudan allowed Israel to fly members of Beta Israel out, but once Israeli journalists broke the story, Sudan’s Arab allies began pressuring the country to put a stop to the operation.

We also learn that Operation Solomon, a high-pressure mission in 1991 evacuating over 14,000 Ethiopian Jews in 36 hours, was a result of Cold War politics. Ethiopia’s Soviet-supported Mengistu regime had been preventing the migration of the Ethiopian Jewry. But after the collapse of the U.S.S.R., Mengistu was struggling to maintain power and hoped to instead gain support from the U.S. — an opportune moment to push to evacuate the Ethiopian Jewry.

Most effectively highlighted by the documentary are the families often separated during the immigration process. The sudden end of Operation Moses in 1985 stranded hundreds of Ethiopian Jews — all of whom had risked their lives walking for weeks through the desert to arrive at the operation’s pickup point — in refugee camps in Sudan after the airlifts were stopped.

Other families were separated during the immigration process due to arbitrary rulings from Israeli immigration authorities. A mother and six out of her seven children, for example, were approved for entry to Israel but her daughter is still, even today, in Ethiopia — where she is now married and has children of her own, still hoping to one day unite with her family.

The amount of history that is covered in the documentary can be overwhelming and hard to follow, but that’s not entirely its fault. Documentaries on topics more well-known in the West can rely on their audience’s preexisting knowledge of the event; films on the Holocaust can focus on specific aspects of the Nazi regime because viewers already know the broad brushstrokes of World War II.

African politics and history, whether the Sudanese civil war that impacted Operation Moses or Ethiopian ethnic tensions,are often left out of our history books and mainstream news coverage. “With No Land” has to explain the entire landscape of the region as well as the Israeli government’s suspicion of Beta Israel and the tensions with the migration.

That tension continues even today; though immigration has become slightly easier, and the documentary ends with shots of planes from Addis Ababa filled with migrants in surgical masks — the universal visual symbol of our current era — Beta Israel is still not truly welcome in Israel. The Israeli Immigration and Population Authority released a statement just this past November casting doubt on the Jewishness of a group of migrants from Ethiopia. The Israeli National Security Agency similarly implied many Ethiopian migrants are lying about their religion and ethnicity to get into Israel.

There are few members of Beta Israel left in Ethiopia today; most have finally moved to Israel. But it’s clear that even after aliyah, the problems of the Ethiopian Jewry persist.

Source: In the story of Ethiopian Jewish immigration, is Israel really the hero?

Themrise Khan: The incoherence of Canada’s refugee policy

Overly simplistic in its focus on the “whiteness” of refugee policy given the many restrictions on refugees and discrimination of minorities in non-white countries.

And while one can characterize Afghan interpreters and the like as “helping imperial forces during an (illegal) occupation,” seems a bit divorced from the reality of the Taliban’s rule.

As for her recommendations, fine as far as they go but the challenge is not at the general principles, which most policy makers agree with, but actually implementing them in a real-time basis, where I believe the main failures likely were:

Over the past year the lives of refugees and asylum seekers of the Global South have been put at risk more than ever by potential receiving countries of the Global North. Militarized migrant pushbacks at the Poland-Belarus border. Increasing migrant deaths in the English Channel. Draconian asylum and refugee policies being proposed by the U.K. A United States that continues to be refugee-averse despite a change in government. In essence, we are witnessing the “whiteness” of refugee policy – a shift by countries of the Global North toward using the lives of refugees to wield greater power over the Global South, all the while retaining the false narrative of the white saviour.

Canada’s current refugee policy is nowhere as extreme as those examples, but it is not so distanced from this narrative either. The Afghan refugee crisis in the summer of 2021 was meant to be a moment for Canada to exhibit its good policy, particularly since it played an active part in post-conflict Afghanistan and maintained a presence in the country. Instead, the Canadian response exposed the contradictions in its refugee policy, many of them a long time coming. Whiteness does not only mean discriminating against the “other.” It also means being completely disconnected from the situation outside the Global North. Canada’s response to the Afghan crisis has provided us with several illustrations of this disconnect.

Canada’s response – gaps and discrepancies

From being one of the first northern countries to shutter its embassy when the Taliban took over to when it ended its evacuation mission in the following days, Canada’s disconnect from reality was clear. There were thousands of refugee and asylum cases that had been pending since at least 2014, and the decision to create new refugee programs or expanding existing ones at the 11th hour was a bureaucratic scramble, rather than a well thought out policy response. It stranded people in other countries, which meant Canada had to negotiate special agreements so these countries would temporarily house refugees destined for Canada. The ethics and optics were particularly weak when this involved countries like Pakistan that had closed their borders and were hostile to Afghan refugees.

The situation of Afghan interpreters and fixers who assisted Western forces, including Canada, illustrates the biggest policy disconnect from reality. Their roles were prone to being romanticized in the media, as they perfectly invoke the image of the Western white saviour and the oppressed Afghan working together against a common evil. However, Afghans did not necessarily help Western forces because the West came to save them. They did it primarily for economic survival, as some studies have found, and as a way out of the country for their families in the aftermath of a brutal conflict. This does not negate their right to seek refuge. But suggesting the prospect of asylum in return for helping imperial forces during an (illegal) occupation is a flawed and incoherent premise in the context of refugee policy.

In effect, Western interventionism created multiple tiers of refugees in a system that was never meant to view some as being more deserving than others. In Canada’s case, this threatens the lives of Afghans who directly worked with us by encouraging them with the prospect of asylum and then failing to deliver even before it was too late – all because such cases required a force-fit within a law that recognizes them as just one of many deserving groups.

What the Afghanistan situation most clearly illustrates is the absence of mechanisms within Canada’s refugee policy to respond to complex emergencies on the ground. Canada’s refugee system, like many others, looks to the United NationsHigh Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR) referral program. Inthis program the UNHCR refers the applications of refugees officially registered with the organization to third countries thatare offering resettlement opportunities. These third countries, such as Canada, then select who to admit by applying their own criteria to the applications referred to them by the UNHCR. This is how Canada responded to the Syrian refugee crisis in 2015. In the recent Afghan case, however, the system was redundantsince the urgency created by the Taliban takeover was to removeAfghans from within Afghanistan, not from refugee camps elsewhere. Not anticipating this, and also leaving existing Afghan applications stagnating within our refugee system, was perhaps Canada’s worst failing in this crisis. 

Recommendations for better policy and practice

The Afghanistan case blindsided Canada’s refugee response system, but it didn’t have to. We must redesign our refugee policy to be proactive instead of reactive. For this, Canada must:

  • Design better mechanisms to predict and understand conflict-induced displacement

The West obsessively predicts large-scale displacement related to climate change and hunger. But it does little to predict or understand how armed conflict or political power imbalances can force people to flee, especially in the Global South. This includes ignoring voices within the Global South that are better able to judge tension and displacement in their countries. Afghanistan has been a location of conflict for as long as the Taliban have existed. Misjudging this was a tactical error that exposed Canada’s disregard for the views of potential refugees themselves. Refugee policy must invest in a more Southern-led understanding of how conflict manifests over time and can affect people’s lives, including the voices of refugees. It must move away from being simply a paper-pushing exercise.

  • Integrate inter-departmental efforts to respond to refugees and displacement 

Canada was involved in pre- and post-conflict Afghanistan not just militarily, but also via its development programming and humanitarian support. Information gathered by the various departmental channels is vital to developing an integrated response to potential human displacement across government. Better inter-governmental co-ordination would improve refugee response systems, particularly in countries where Canada is diplomatically present.

  • Adopt emergency measures to respond to crises

Canada rather proudly states that it responded to the Afghan crisis by effectively accommodating on-ground challenges. This included bypassing and altering screening and documentation requirements. But this was done only after the realization that regular, peace-time processing measures were not working. Precious time was lost in the process of coming to this realization. Had such measures been in place beforehand, the response would have been immediate. Therefore, it is imperative to acknowledge the distinction between and the need for peace-time and conflict-related refugee processing mechanisms.

A Canadian government official recently commented on Canada’s refusal to bring in relatives of Afghan refugee applicants who were deemed inadmissible. He said: “the hard part of the job has been telling people: ‘I’m sorry, this is the policy.”

This comment in a nutshell sums up Canada’s disconnect from reality as it relates to its refugee response. The Afghan case has demonstrated that whiteness manifests itself not only in racial discrimination but also in policies that are largely oblivious to reality outside our borders. Canada prioritized its bureaucracy and interventions over the risks faced by the Afghan people, and the system ignored the urgency of a country on the brink of collapse. If this is what our refugee system is built around, it is clearly geared toward helping Canada, and not the vulnerable.


The Decline of Legal Immigration | Cato at Liberty Blog

Useful stats. MPI had a very good webinar assessing the Biden administration immigration policy and program changes. Lot more happening through executive orders (close to 300 in the past year, about 100 related to reversing Trump administration measures) than the high level debates would indicate:

Legal immigration collapsed in the last year of the Trump administration. The number of green cards issued abroad were declining prior to the pandemic, partly for policy and other reasons, but the American government’s overreaction to COVID-19 caused immigration to collapse as we’ve detailed here, here, here, here, and here.

Since President Biden took office in January 2021, the recovery of legal immigration has been much slower than we anticipated. The new vaccine mandate for immigrants (as we’re seeing in other countries with the Novak Djokovic scandal), the remaining closure of many embassies and consulates that reduce interviews for visas and their subsequent issuance, the delayed release of extra visas approved by Congress, and additional haphazardly imposed travel restrictions have greatly reduced the scope of legal immigration.

Despite those restrictions, the number of legal immigrant visas issued abroad has partly recovered from a low of 697 (that’s not a typo) in May 2020 to 35,647 in November 2021 (Figure 1). That’s 16 percent below the average of 42,390 immigrant visas issued monthly from January 2017 through February 2020, during Trump’s presidency but prior to COVID-19. December 2021 and January 2022 will likely show lower numbers.

As bad as the numbers for immigrant visas are, the number of non‐​immigrant visas issued abroad every month is even worse. Non‐​immigrant visas are for students, temporary workers, tourists, and others who can temporarily travel to the United States or reside here for a specific time and purpose. Figure 2 shows that 40,939 were issued in May 2020, the low point of the series, down from a monthly average of 738,642 from January 2017 through February 2020 – a 95 percent decline. The numbers have since climbed to a paltry 391,022 in November 2021 – far shy of their pre‐​pandemic numbers.

The Biden administration needs to rapidly reverse this situation, recover the lost visas through legislation, and go even further or the U.S. economy will suffer long run drags on its growth.

Source: The Decline of Legal Immigration | Cato at Liberty Blog

#COVID-19: Comparing provinces with other countries 19 January Update

Steep rise of infections remains the main story, along with resulting increases in hospitalizations and ICUs.

Vaccinations: Some minor shifts but general convergence among provinces and countries. Canadians fully vaccinated 79 percent, compared to Japan 78.9 percent, UK 71.4 percent and USA 63.4 percent.

Immigration source countries are also converging: China fully vaccinated 87.3 percent, India 48.2 percent, Nigeria 2.5 percent (the outlier), Pakistan 36 percent, Philippines 51.8 percent.

Trendline Charts:

Infections: Effects of Omicron seen in steep curve in all G7 countries and provinces. No such effect in immigration source countries

Deaths: No relative changes but Quebec uptick more visible.

Vaccinations: Ongoing convergence among most provinces but lower rates for Alberta and Prairies. Gap between G7 less Canada continues to grow despite overall convergence, with narrowing gap with immigration source countries. Nigeria remains the laggard.


Infections: New York ahead of UK, France ahead of USA, Australia ahead of Canada less Quebec, Atlantic Canada ahead of India. 

Deaths: No relative change.

‘Anxious’ Chinese rethink study-abroad options, from Canada to Malta and beyond

Significant. May reverse the relative decline in Chinese students choosing Canada compared to other nationalities. Study permits issued to Chinese students fell from 24 percent in 2018 to 13 percent in 2021 (January-November numbers):

Amid the pandemic and geopolitical tensions with the West over the past two years, members of China’s middle class found themselves increasingly compelled to postpone plans to emigrate overseas, while others refrained from sending their children abroad to study.

But as a growing number of international schools in China have announced in recent months that they were shutting down or were accepting only foreign students in the wake of a nationwide crackdown on education, obtaining a Western-equivalent education at home has become more difficult.

As a result, a rising number of Chinese families are re-evaluating their emigration and foreign-study options.

Industry insiders also say there has been increased demand for Canadian immigration programmes, as well as for fast-track schemes to obtain foreign citizenship via investment opportunities in some small European countries and island nations.

Daisy Fu, who is based in Shenzhen and helps Chinese people obtain Malta citizenship, said business is up 20 per cent in the past two months. “Most of the clients are parents who are anxious about the new education policy,” she said.

Canada’s Immigrant Nominee Programme may also become a popular and practical solution for worried Chinese parents.

“The number of Chinese families applying for professional immigration to Canada will reach a new high in 2022,” said Jack Ho, chairman of Famed Star Group, an international consulting company helping clients immigrate to Canada.

“Whether they are high-net-worth individuals or middle-class white-collar workers, the rapid changes in China’s policies on education, property and wealth markets have prompted them to urgently start their immigration programmes as soon as possible,” Ho said.

In the past, around 95 per cent of families would opt to wait in China until obtaining their permanent residency in Canada, he said. But in recent months, that percentage has plummeted, and he said more than half of his customers told him that they wanted to move to Canada immediately upon receiving a work permit, so their children could begin school there more quickly.

He said his company has assisted with the Canadian immigration process for more than 1,000 families since 2017. This year, he expects their annual business could reach a record high, surpassing pre-pandemic numbers.

Under President Xi Jinping, ideological control has been tightened as the Communist Party tries to instil patriotism in younger generations and stifle dissent. In May, China passed new regulations tightening party oversight of private schools and restricting foreign players in the sector.

For years, Xi denounced the after-school tutoring sector as disruptive, burdensome and in need of regulation. That culminated in Beijing introducing tough new curbs on the lucrative private-education sector last year, despite strong demand from middle-class families for foreign education.

Under the Regulations for the Implementation of the Private Education Promotion Law, no new licences will be granted to international schools offering compulsory education – six years of primary education followed by three years of junior high school education. Chinese-run private schools teaching compulsory education are also banned from using foreign textbooks, though private schools teaching grades 10-12 can continue offering international curriculums.

“Two of my children had been attending an international school in Chengdu that used Singaporean textbooks and had a Western teaching style, with baseball lessons and other foreign languages,” said Zhang Na, who runs a tech-and-culture start-up in Chengdu, Sichuan province.

“The tuition ran about 70,000 yuan (US$11,000) a year, and I was very happy with everything the school offered, but it closed this semester due to a sudden change in policy, so I had to temporarily transfer my sons to a private local school that teaches only a Chinese curriculum.”

Zhang said her sons became extremely stressed amid the fierce competition and pressure to excel in examinations.

“I once set aside my wish to immigrate, but now I may have to put it back on the agenda for my children,” she said.

In December, international schools in Shenzhen – including the Bay Academy, Shenzhen Harrow Innovation Leadership Academy and the King’s School Shenzhen International – which had previously enrolled Chinese students, announced that they would either close or pivot their business model to focus on only foreign students.

And in November, one of Britain’s most prestigious private schools, Westminster School, said it would abandon its first overseas school in Chengdu, four years after the project had begun.

The school had ambitious plans to open six bilingual institutions in China, but “recent changes in Chinese education policy” forced the school to axe the entire project, according to Mark Batten, chair of the school’s governing body.

“It is highly unfortunate – the landscape for developing such schools now is very different from 2017,” Batten said in a letter to past and current students and staff.

In Beijing, education authorities are also pushing ahead with curriculum reform in private bilingual schools by requiring students to use Chinese textbooks adopted by public schools, and to take compulsory exams – known as the zhong kao – for admission to public senior high schools.

The Beijing World Youth Academy, with more than 1,200 students aged 5 to 18, complied with the mandate last year by requiring its grade 9 students to sit the exam – the first time the academy had done so in its 20 years.

A faculty member who spoke on condition of anonymity said the school had integrated subjects required by China’s statutory curriculum, such as Chinese language courses and maths to its Middle Years Programme – an International Baccalaureate programme requiring students aged 11 to 16 to study eight subject groups: two languages, humanities, sciences, mathematics, arts, physical education and technology.

“By doing so, we can help students acquire a [junior middle school] graduation certificate and an academic track record acknowledged by Chinese authorities,” the staff member said.

According to implementation regulations outlined in the Private Education Promotion Law, which went into effect in September, private schools can develop their own curriculums based only “on the standards of the state curriculum”. And the curriculums must be submitted to education authorities first. Students in grades 1-9 are also not allowed to be taught from foreign textbooks.

“More schools offering international curriculums are expected to require students to sit the zhong kao, as China is unifying admission standards for private and public senior high schools,” said Xiong Bingqi, deputy director of the Shanghai-based 21st Century Education Research Institute. “But regardless, international schools will only use zhong kao performance as a reference.”

Stephen Wang, the father of a grade 8 student at the Beijing World Youth Academy, said that although the zhong kao requirement has doubled his daughter’s workload, the academy’s inclusion in the national academic system may benefit her career in the future.

“My daughter makes painstaking efforts to study two sets of subjects. However, it may prove worth it someday. After returning from overseas, she’ll have the freedom to choose to develop a career in China,” said Wang, a 48-year-old private entrepreneur.

Susan Li, the mother of a grade 6 student at an international school in Beijing, said: “Our school hasn’t announced whether it will make the exams compulsory. But I’m afraid it will come sooner or later with the government’s tightened scrutiny of private schools.”

Nonetheless, the 45-year-old corporate executive said, “it would be a waste of time”.

“As we are determined to go to a university in the UK, preparing for and sitting domestic exams is really unnecessary,” Li said.

Source: ‘Anxious’ Chinese rethink study-abroad options, from Canada to Malta and beyond

‘Racist’ junior high immigration assignment has advocates calling for curriculum change

Not convinced by the arguments advanced against the approach of having students contrast and compare opposing perspectives and develop their critical thinking.

Most of the immigration opposing points reflect polling and other data and students will likely be exposed to these positions in any case outside of the more controlled space of a classroom.

Of course, the role of teachers in leading and framing the issues is critical.

And while I hate the term “snowflake,” (which can apply both the “woke” and “non-woke”), this is a classic example of underestimating the ability of people to handle such material:

Advocates and university professors are calling this school assignment ‘dehumanizing.’ (Name withheld)

Anti-racism advocates and a university professor are calling an assignment handed out at a junior high school in St. John’s “racist” and say it could result in bullying and discrimination.

A textbook assignment that was sent to CBC News by a concerned parent asked students to write down two reasons why immigrants and refugees should be allowed into the country — and two reasons why they should not be.

The textbook provides a list of reasons why immigrants and refugees should be allowed in the country; for example, “Canada is a big country with room for many more people” and “Immigrants provide new ideas and skills.”

Source: ‘Racist’ junior high immigration assignment has advocates calling for curriculum change

Paquet et Beland: Le variant Omicron et les boucs émissaires de la CAQ

Good commentary:

Un peu avant Noël, le ministre Jean Boulet, qui est à la fois ministre du Travail, de l’Emploi et de la Solidarité sociale, et aussi ministre de l’Immigration, de la Francisation et de l’Intégration, a émis un gazouillis liant la montée des cas du variant Omicron au Québec aux demandeurs d’asile arrivant par le chemin Roxham, en Estrie :

« Le gouvernement fédéral doit prendre ses responsabilités. Il faut fermer le chemin #Roxham. Nous devons tous nous mobiliser devant la remontée des cas de #COVID19 #Ominicron[sic] afin de ne pas surcharger notre système de santé! 
La publication a notamment été reprise par la vice-première ministre et ministre de la Sécurité publique Geneviève Guilbault, et d’autres élus ou membres du personnel politique de la Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ).

En plus de propager une fausse inférence selon laquelle les demandeurs d’asile – et, plus largement, les immigrants – sont à la source de la nouvelle vague de COVID-19 que traverse le Québec, ces propos donnent peut-être un avant-goût des stratégies caquistes de rejet du blâme auxquelles on peut s’attendre en cette année électorale.

Bien que cette stratégie fasse partie de la boite à outils de tous les acteurs politiques, le gazouillis du ministre Boulet illustre comment, lorsque la situation se détériore sur le terrain, le gouvernement de la CAQ aime bien mettre la faute sur deux boucs émissaires : les immigrants et le gouvernement fédéral.

Les immigrants : vieux comme le monde

L’utilisation des immigrants comme boucs émissaires, de même que leur représentation comme étant à la source de crises sanitaires, sociales, économiques et linguistiques, sont des constantes de l’histoire humaine. Dès le début de la crise de la COVID-19, des chefs d’état à travers le monde ont utilisé de telles stratégies à saveur xénophobe. Ce fut le cas aux États-Unis lorsqu’on a parlé du « virus chinois », par exemple.

Au Québec, on doit reconnaître que les élus de la CAQ n’ont pas véhiculé un tel discours pendant les premières vagues de la pandémie. La déclaration du ministre Boulet est-elle donc une aberration ? Un simple égarement ? La politisation stratégique et répétée des questions migratoires par le gouvernement caquiste permet d’en douter.

Depuis son virage nationaliste, le parti a soutenu des positions plus restrictives que ses adversaires en matière d’immigration, une stratégie qui a réussi à faire des niveaux d’immigration la question de l’urne lors des élections de 2018. Après son assermentation, le gouvernement de François Legault a continué à mobiliser les enjeux migratoires et ceux liés, à tort ou à raison, aux questions identitaires et linguistiques, afin de consolider sa base électorale.

Si le geste de M. Boulet n’était pas prémédité, il s’inscrit à tout le moins dans la continuité d’une certaine rhétorique de son parti. En tous les cas, son gazouillis n’a pas été retiré à ce jour, malgré les centaines de commentaires négatifs qu’il a générés.

La faute d’Ottawa

L’autre bouc émissaire commode pour la CAQ, c’est le gouvernement fédéral. Ça n’a rien de nouveau dans le contexte du fédéralisme canadien, où les gouvernements provinciaux ont tendance à blâmer Ottawa pour leurs problèmes, même lorsque la responsabilité du fédéral est loin d’être démontrée.

Par contre, puisque l’immigration est maintenant une compétence partagée et que la vision de la CAQ et celle du Parti libéral du Canada sont aux antipodes en ce qui a trait à l’immigration et la diversité culturelle, la critique caquiste des politiques du gouvernement Trudeau est presque inévitable.

Elle l’est encore plus lorsqu’elle concerne le fameux chemin Roxham, qui est devenu le symbole d’une « menace » migratoire. Cependant, la nouvelle entente sur les tiers pays sûrs qu’Ottawa vient de signer avec son homologue américain pour « colmater cette brèche à la frontière » pourrait priver le gouvernement Legault d’une de ses sources habituelles de critique envers le fédéral.

Il y aura sans doute d’autres occasions de critiquer Ottawa, sur d’autres enjeux. Comme c’est le cas pour les immigrants, le gouvernement fédéral est en soi lui aussi considéré par de nombreux caquistes – et bien des Québécois – comme une menace potentielle envers les intérêts et les valeurs du Québec.

Un jeu dangereux pour faire oublier le manque de préparation

S’il est presque devenu une tradition pour chaque gouvernement québécois de critiquer le gouvernement fédéral, les propos du ministre Boulet en ce qui a trait à l’immigration sont particulièrement inquiétants.

Qu’elle ait été planifiée ou non, cette stratégie de rejeter de blâme sur les demandeurs d’asile reste dangereuse, puisqu’elle propage de fausses informations. Il n’y a en effet aucune preuve que les demandeurs d’asile soient responsables, même de façon partielle, de la hausse dramatique des cas de COVID-19 au Québec. En Amérique, en Europe et ailleurs, l’arrivée du variant Omicron est d’abord le fait de voyageurs détenant un passeport et arrivés de façon régulière, comme ce fut le cas pour la propagation des variants précédents ou encore d’autres virus au potentiel pandémique, comme le SRAS.

Le gouvernement Legault peut bien tenter de blâmer les migrants pour la venue d’Omicron, mais la réalité est qu’il s’y est mal préparé, malgré les nombreux signes avant-coureurs en Europe et ailleurs dans le monde.

En matière d’immigration, la stratégie récurrente de rejet du blâme de la CAQ risque aussi d’avoir des effets durables sur la teneur des débats publics. Les recherches sur la politisation de l’immigration ont documenté de façon abondante que les prises de position comme celles du ministre Boulet contribuent à polariser les discours de tous les partis politiques, ce qui peut modifier grandement l’offre politique disponible.

La réaction de Paul Saint-Pierre Plamondon, chef du Parti Québécois, l’illustre bien : plutôt que de dénoncer l’inférence du ministre, M. St-Pierre Plamondon a renchéri en affirmant que seule l’indépendance permettrait au Québec de contrôler ses frontières.  Ce faisant, il se trouvait à légitimer les propos du ministre Boulet, même s’ils ne s’appuient sur aucune base factuelle.

Les travaux sur les stratégies partisanes de politisation montrent aussi comment la diffusion par les élus d’informations incorrectes sur l’immigration élargit la fenêtre des discours légitimes et peut valider des positions radicales. Cela contribue à la désinformation, et ultimement à l’érosion de la confiance des citoyens envers l’État.

À court terme, une telle stratégie, avant tout électoraliste, peut sembler une bonne façon pour la CAQ de s’assurer de remporter un nouveau mandat majoritaire en octobre 2022. Il faut pourtant s’inquiéter des conséquences à long terme sur la vie politique et la société québécoises.


#COVID-19 Immigration Effects: November Update

Key trends from November IRCC operational data: 

Minister Fraser announced just before Christmas that the government had met it 2021 target of 401,000, with November numbers being the highest monthly numbers to date, 47,340. 

One consequence of the government’s fixation on meeting the target has been the inevitable increase in backlogs: 548,000 permanent residence applications, 776,000 temporary residence applications, and 468,000 Canadian citizenship applications. 

Transition from temporary residents to permanent residents accounts for about three quarters of all permanent resident admissions, as can be seen also in Express Entry Invitation to Apply and Admissions data. The economic class forms a slightly increasing percentage (from 57% in 2019 to 62.1% in 2021 YTD), reflecting in part a significant increase in the latter half of 2021. 

Meanwhile, applications continue to decline slightly along with web interest given increased two-step immigration from international students and those on work permits and their family members. 

Temporary Residents – IMP remained stable compared to the previous month but declined with respect to November 2020 and 2019. 

Temporary Residents – TFWP small decline, largely due to agriculture workers and those with a LMIA. 

Students: Seasonal decline of study permits but a November increase in applications year-over-year (and compared to 2019), suggesting greater awareness and interest in two-step immigration. 

Asylum Claimants: Significant increase in the number of asylum claimants, given reduced travel restrictions. Significant increase also for Irregular arrivals (Roxham Road etc), with close to one thousand in November. 

Citizenship: Program continues to recover to normal levels and starting to make a small dent in the backlog 

Visitor Visas: While numbers have increased given reduced travel restrictions, still remain slightly more than half of traditional levels (2019).

Canadian immigrants turn to MPs for help with official documents, but to no avail

Of note (MPs spend a lot of time on immigration and passport issues):

Canadian immigrants say they’ve been reaching out to their federal members of parliament (MPs) for help with their long-delayed immigration files.

For some, it’s been years since they first opened their files with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

“MPs used to be the higher level to try and get additional information and even MPs aren’t getting responses,” noted immigration lawyer Tamara Mosher-Kuczer.

Lately, IRCC has been blaming COVID-19 for serious delays — even though some immigrants say they applied for their visas, permanent residences and citizenship before the pandemic hit.

“We can still help them as we did before, but the answers from the department continue to reflect delays in the process due to COVID-19,” explained Anthony Housefather, MP for Mount Royal. “So, the service remains unchanged, but the processing times for almost all applications are slower.”

Mississauga – Erin Mills MP Iqra Khalid noted the federal government has proposed investing $85 million to “boost IRCC’s capacity and reduce processing times in these key areas affected by the pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of the challenges that Canadian residents face, and IRCC is no exception,” said Khalid, who adds her office alone is tracking hundreds of active immigration cases with the department.

Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser did not respond to CTV News’ request for comment.

Source: Canadian immigrants turn to MPs for help with official documents, but to no avail