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The truth about Canada’s new immigration policies

In an unusual move, a group of Canadian lawyers and legal academics are urging voters not to support the Conservative Party in the May 2 election, the Toronto Star reports.

“The Conservative Party has been telling visible minority immigrant communities, which it calls the ‘ethnic vote,’ that it is improving the immigration system,” said the group in a statement released Wednesday. “A review of their record shows the contrary.”

The group’s statement sets out several startling differences between the Conservative government’s rhetoric on immigration issues, and its practice.

For example,

• Instead of getting tough on smugglers, new legislation introduced by the party target the victims of smuggling - the refugees - by mandatory detention, denying permanent residency and making it more difficult for refugees to reunite with their families.

• Whilst claiming to be sympathetic to genuine refugees who do not flee their countries illegally, the government has just announced plans to cancel the only program allowing Canada to protect refugees applying from within their own country.

• New laws said to target marriage fraud actually serve to make reunification more difficult. (Meanwhile, the conditional two-year permanent residency will trap spouses in abusive relationships).

• The annual visa quotas for sponsoring parents and grandparents are down — not up — by 44 per cent (from 20,005 in 2005 to 11,200 in 2011). It also now takes nine to 30 months longer to process these sponsorships, depending on the visa post.

See our recent comment on Canada's asylum practices: 'Extraordinarily Perverse'