Galon: The inherent evil of Israel’s Citizenship Law

Of note:

The government has informed the High Court of Justice that Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked plans to pass a new citizenship law within a month – and that it will preserve the racist clauses that were included in the original law. The government was responding to a petition submitted by the Association for Civil Rights in Israel; Hamoked: The Center for the Defense of the Individual; Physicians for Human Rights and several Palestinian petitioners.

Shaked has continued to refuse family reunification for Palestinians, and has done so without any legal authority. Since the Knesset revoked the original Citizenship and Entry Into Israel Law, 1,680 requests have been submitted, and under Shaked’s instructions the Interior Ministry has refused to discuss these requests, continuing to operate as though the law were still in effect.

The background: At the start of the second intifada the Knesset passed a law designed to prevent Palestinians living in Israel from marrying Palestinians from the territories. The Knesset understood at the time that it was a law whose constitutionality was in doubt, and which undermines the right to family life and equality, and therefore declared it a temporary “emergency provision.”

That was the excuse for the High Court: Look, this law isn’t permanent, we will discuss it on an annual basis depending on the situation. And of course, since 2003 the Knesset has approved it year after year. An “emergency provision” turned into a permanent law. And the High Court? It sighed, but didn’t rule on the matter. The justices said that the law raises difficult constitutional questions, but refrained from invalidating it. Why would they need this headache?

Six months ago the coalition was unable to garner a majority and the law was revoked. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett promised the Meretz party – which supported the racist law – that he would change the law. And what did Shaked do? She announced that she doesn’t care, and that she forbids family reunification even if she has no legal authority to do so. Instead of the State Prosecutor’s Office ordering her to return to the situation prior to the passing of the law – in other words, an individual examination of every request for reunification – Gil Limon, the deputy attorney general, declared that he supports the law.

Hold on a moment, my friend Limon. It is now 2022. The law that was passed 20 years ago originated in the days of the second intifada and the security situation that ensued from it. But that was over 17 years ago. How can you pretend, 17 years later, that the security situation in 2002 is still relevant today? The law that you are approving – wouldn’t it be preferable for it to suit the actual security situation?

Excuse me for the bad joke. The Citizenship and Entry Into Israel Law was always justified with security excuses, but it has no real connection with security. Justice Edmond Levy mocked this claim during my petitions and those of human rights organizations, and noted that Israel permits Palestinian workers to enter its jurisdiction.

And here precisely is the crux of the matter: The law does not protect Israel’s security, and was never designed to do so. It is designed to allay the demographic fears of Israeli Jews. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said so at the time, and half a year ago Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid repeated his words: “We don’t have to hide from the essence of the citizenship law, it is designed to ensure a Jewish majority in the country.”

The significance of Lapid’s words is that Israel is not a democracy. It has a large, native-born minority whose rights will always be inferior to those of the majority. This native-born minority won’t be able to realize its family-related rights or aspire to happiness. One of the advantages of this government is that Israeli Arabs are participating in it. If Shaked throws the Arab community to the dogs, Bennett, Lapid and their comrades should be aware that they won’t have another government after the election. Perhaps this utilitarian argument will succeed in overcoming the law’s built-in evil.

Source: The inherent evil of Israel’s Citizenship Law

Une véritable honte!

On family reunification between refugees and their children:

Les gouvernements du Québec et du Canada ont ratifié en 1991 la Convention relative aux droits de l’enfant, un instrument juridique international adopté par l’Assemblée générale des Nations unies en novembre 1989. Cette convention internationale stipule dans son article 10 que toute demande formulée par un enfant ou un parent pour entrer dans un État à des fins de réunification familiale doit être traitée « dans un esprit positif, avec humanité et diligence ».

Humanité et diligence ? Le ministre canadien de l’Immigration, Marco Mendicino, a beau dire à notre collègue Lisa-Marie Gervais que le Canada est un chef de file mondial en matière de réinstallation des réfugiés, les statistiques racontent une histoire déshumanisante et brossent un portrait qui fait honte. Des parents acceptés comme réfugiés au Canada, et ayant même obtenu leur résidence permanente, attendent plus de trois ans avant de retrouver leurs petits, restés au bercail au moment de la séparation.

Faut-il rappeler qu’Estelle, Sophie et toutes ces femmes et ces hommes qui pleurent des enfants laissés derrière eux n’ont pas plié bagage un matin de légèreté pour le plaisir du périple et le goût de l’aventure ? Ces réfugiés politiques, reçus parfois pour motifs humanitaires, ont fui leur pays natal pour sauver leur vie, et parfois celle de leur famille. Rien ne dit que les enfants restés derrière eux, privés d’un de leurs parents ou même des deux, ne sont pas eux-mêmes soumis à quelques périls, comme c’est le cas de Sophie, qui craint pour la sécurité de quatre de ses enfants restés en Afrique. Elle a quitté un mari violent, et les nouvelles que lui acheminent ses voisines la font frémir. Elle craint que ses enfants soient eux-mêmes coincés dans le cycle de la violence.

Le fait que les enfants puissent rejoindre leurs parents au Canada après 39 mois d’attente est une véritable honte. Impossible d’invoquer la pandémie pour cette longue pénitence dans les couloirs de la bureaucratie, car voilà des lustres que l’enjeu de l’attente interminable est noté au tableau des horreurs. L’action rapide et efficace fut pourtant possible en 2015, lorsque le Canada a ouvert ses portes à 25 000 réfugiés syriens dans un temps record.

Le Conseil canadien pour les réfugiés demande au Canada de fixer une limite maximale honorable de six mois pour que parents et enfants puissent être réunis à une même table. Ces délais exceptionnellement courts ne devraient pas constituer l’extraordinaire, mais plutôt le cours normal des choses. Sans cela, inutile de même prétendre au moindre titre de chef de file mondial.


Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

Of note. Generous, given applies to extended families, and yet another contribution to meeting immigration levels:

Ottawa is launching a new policy to help the families of victims of two major airline disasters become permanent residents in Canada, Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said Thursday.

The new policy will apply to relatives of anyone who died on board Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 or Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, so long as those victims were Canadian citizens, permanent residents or found eligible on their application for permanent residency.

The policy applies to people currently in Canada, and anyone who made a refugee claim after these two disasters happened is also eligible to apply under the new policy.

Mendicino said the federal government is introducing this public policy, which will remain in place until May 11, 2022, to demonstrate compassion and solidarity with the families in their efforts to seek justice.

“I’ve had the privilege of speaking with some of the families were related to the victims of flight PS752. Grief and anguish is real and ongoing,” he said.

“Families are in pain. They still ask questions.”

Kourosh Doustshenas, whose partner Forough Khadem died in the crash, said the association that represent the families of the victims welcomes the new policy.

“We appreciate the government of Canada is taking these steps to support the families,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.

Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents were among the 176 people killed when a Ukrainian jetliner was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile minutes after taking off from Tehran on Jan. 8, 2020.

The Ethiopian Airlines passenger plane crashed near Addis Ababa on March 10, 2019, claiming the lives of 157 people, including 18 Canadians.

Mendicino said the new program provides a pathway to permanent residency to people whose loved ones made Canada their home before being so suddenly taken.

He said a relative a relative could be spouse, common-law partner, child, grandchild, mother, father, grandmother, grandfather, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew.

Applicants may still be eligible even if they have entered Canada without the required visa or other documents, failed to comply with certain conditions or have worked or studied without being authorized under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, he said.

Doustshenas the government should allow family members outside of Canada to apply.

“We are hoping (the government) will expand (the new policy) to be more inclusive,” he said. “We want to make sure other people who are not in Canada also get the chance to travel here and apply for permanent residency.”

He said the policy should be expanded to include the families of Iranian students who where among the victims of the plane shootdown and had the intention to work and live in Canada after graduation.

Mendicino said his department is working on further measures to facilitate permanent residence applications for certain members of victims’ families who are currently outside Canada, and it will provide updates on this once those measures are in place.

Former Liberal public safety minister Ralph Goodale, who was named Canada’s special adviser on the response to the crash, released a report on the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in December concluding that it’s vital it is for the investigation into this air disaster to be transparent to ensure accountability.

Ten Iranian officials were indicted over the shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger plane by Tehran military prosecutor Gholamabbas Torki, who avoided naming those responsible when he announced the indictments last month.

Doustshenas the families of the victims can’t trust the Iranian justice system because the Tehran military prosecutor didn’t disclose the names of those charged, nor the alleged offences.

“We still don’t know what happened. We still don’t know the truth. We haven’t seen any kind of justice,” he said.

“We are hoping through an independent investigation by Canada and other countries, we can finally get to the bottom of that and find the truth.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last month that Canada would work with the international community to reform aviation standards and to ensure the families of victims “get closure, get compensation and mostly get justice from Iran.”

Source: Canada announces new pathway to permanent residency for families of crash victims

John McCallum says Liberals remain committed to doubling family reunification

The increasing family reunification commitment was targeted to visible minority and immigrant communities where this was an issue such as Sikh Canadians (the Liberals swept all ridings where Sikh Canadians were significant).

Find the phrasing of the Conservative critic’s attack odd given that they lost all of these ridings where family reunification likely played a role.

However, another example of the challenge in translating commitments into action, especially when operational and capacity issues are significant:

The Liberal government says it remains committed to doubling to 10,000 the number of applications it will process each year for family reunification of parents and grandparents.

However, the government’s Citizenship and Immigration website says applications are now being accepted for 2016 — and cautions in bold text that the number of applications is capped at 5,000.

Justin Trudeau promised during the election campaign that a Liberal government would double the cap as part of a package of immigration reforms.

The annual limit on family reunification applications for aging parents and grandparents was brought in by the former Conservative government, which called the program an abuse of generosity.

The Liberal government did not explain why the 5,000-application cap remains flagged on the website, but in an emailed statement, Immigration Minister John McCallum said he still plans to double the cap.

He said he will consult his cabinet colleagues on the change early in the new year.

“We are committed to reuniting families and we intend to meet the commitment to double the intake of PGP sponsorship applications from 5,000 to 10,000 per year,” the statement said.

The measure to double the application cap is also listed among the “key commitments for action in first 100 days” cited in the prime minister’s briefing books, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

‘Forget #sunnyways’

Nonetheless, Conservatives jumped on Citizenship and Immigration’s web page notification Monday as evidence of “yet another unachievable Liberal campaign promise.”

Calgary MP Michelle Rempel posted on Facebook: “Keeping a realistic goal of 5,000 applications a year was part of our Conservative government’s initiative to be prudent managers of government. It was totally irresponsible of Trudeau to promise more than his government is able to deliver.”

In a subsequent post on Twitter, Rempel said “Forget #sunnyways. The new mantra is ‘over promise and under deliver.'”

Source: John McCallum says Liberals remain committed to doubling family reunification – Politics – CBC News

Immigration feels toddler better off ‘culturally, linguistically’ in India than with parents in Canada | Ottawa Citizen

While always risky to pass judgment based upon media accounts, the immigration officer’s comments, while no doubt well-meaning,  seem particularly obtuse and patronising given the longer-term implications of his continuing to be separated from his parents:

The department’s silence on the case is baffling, especially in light of a report by the Immigration visa officer in Delhi who rejected the parents’ application to be reunited with their son on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

The visa officer says in the report obtained by the Citizen that Daksh is better off in India, where he lives with his grandparents and is in an environment “culturally and linguistically familiar to him.”

The report also says Daksh has always lived with his grandparents, never with his parents, which they deny.

“Based on information submitted, it would appear that the child has never resided with his father or mother. It seems the child has continuously resided with his grandparents. … It seems to me that (Sood and Bajaj) have already made a determination that the best interest of the child would be for him not to go to Canada.

“To uproot the child at this time and move him to an unfamiliar environment, in a different climate, culture and language would be very upsetting and not in his best interest. In addition, he would be living with unfamiliar people, as his lifelong caregivers would not be with him.”

Immigration feels toddler better off ‘culturally, linguistically’ in India than with parents in Canada | Ottawa Citizen.