News / USA

    Syrian Refugee Flow to Canada Probed in Washington

    FILE - Syrian refugees wait at Marka Airport in Amman, Jordan, to complete their migration procedures to Canada, Dec. 8, 2015.
    FILE - Syrian refugees wait at Marka Airport in Amman, Jordan, to complete their migration procedures to Canada, Dec. 8, 2015.
    Michael Bowman

    Canada's goal of admitting 50,000 Syrian refugees by year's end is provoking security concerns in Washington, where lawmakers Wednesday questioned Ottawa's ability to adequately screen a large influx of newcomers on a short timetable.

    Given the porous U.S.-Canadian border, any terrorist infiltrators admitted to Canada could easily slip into the United States, according to the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Republican Ron Johnson.

    "We have a pretty unsecured border with Canada. It's never represented much of a threat," Johnson said. "Islamic terror represents a threat. It's real, it's growing. This is a legitimate concern."

    The senator represents Wisconsin, which shares Lake Superior with Canada. He presided over a hearing Wednesday in which Canadian experts testified about the challenges posed by newly-installed Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's pledge to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by March 1, and a total of 50,000 by December.

    Monumental task

    Canadian intelligence expert David Harris said the task before Canada is monumental, given that the United States has only agreed to admit 10,000 Syrians and the U.S. population is nine times that of Canada.

    FILE - Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau helps a young Syrian refugee try on a winter coat after she arrived with her family from Beirut at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 11, 2015.
    FILE - Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau helps a young Syrian refugee try on a winter coat after she arrived with her family from Beirut at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, Dec. 11, 2015.

    "Therefore, 25,000 refugees in Canada would be the equivalent of 225,000 refugees in the United States," Harris said. "If the extensive U.S. intelligence system would have trouble security-screening 10,000 Syrians in a year, how likely is it that Canada, even with valuable U.S. assistance, could adequately screen two-and-a-half times that number in four months?"

    In advance of the hearing, Canada's ambassador in Washington, Gary Doer, wrote the committee, saying, "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."

    Canadian immigration attorney Guidy Mamann told senators that Canadian agencies involved in refugee matters will do their utmost to fulfill their duties.

    "I have no doubt that they will not intentionally cut corners in order to deliver a politically expedient result," Mamann said. "However, they will be under tremendous pressure to deliver an unprecedented volume of work in record time. … They are going to be tired."

    Opposition called irrational

    A Republican-led effort to impose strict conditions on the acceptance of Syrian refugees to the United States passed in the House of Representatives but failed in the Senate last month. More than two dozen governors have said they do not want Syrians settled in their states.

    Whether in the United States or Canada, fear of Syrian refugees is irrational, according to Sen. Tom Carper, the committee's top Democrat, who noted there are far quicker and easier routes to get to North America.

    "An ISIS person would have to be crazy or stupid to try to get here through our most-closely vetted program," Carper said, using an acronym for Islamic State. "From what I can tell, it [Canada's refugee program] looks a lot like ours. Like us, Canada carefully screens potential candidates while they are overseas."

    The committee also received testimony from U.S. Border Patrol agent Dean Mandel, who said the U.S.-Canadian border is not difficult to traverse legally or illegally. Even so, Mandel noted that refugees account for a tiny proportion of the foreigners arriving in Canada, including tourists, students and business travelers.

    "Candidly, of greater concern [than Syrian refugees] for me, from a border security perspective, are over 5 million foreign visitors that enter Canada annually," Mandel said.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Drew
    February 05, 2016 10:53 AM
    You do not speak for all Candians Celia. Left Wing Canadians like Trudoh are more dangerous to Americans and Canadians "We should pull out of the war on Isis, and instead take in a group of people who will try to make it illegal to be Christian and who try to change our laws to fit their culture so don't get their feelings hurt" that is BS and Trudoh should go to Jail for selling our National Security and Country out to Muslims. I am sick and tired of the moronic thinking of Eastern Canadians and Vancouver hippies who are trying to force their selfish views on others.

    This is why Canada is never taken seriously because Canadians act like cry babies when they don't get what they want. It astounds me of how many Canadians voted liberal because they liked how Justin looked. That in itself proves Canadians are not as smart and not brave at all where Americans are smart and more brave than Lefty Canadians ever could be. I will be making Canadians look bad when I am in America by telling and anyone that Canada is a country full of enviro crazies who should bein a mental institution.

    by: Celia Finley
    February 04, 2016 9:00 AM
    Americans clearly don't realize that we consider right-wing fundamentalist American politicians to be far more dangerous to our security in Canada than Syrian refugees which have been vetted up the yingyang by our Canadian govt security personnel. Visiting the United States is far more dangerous to Canadians security. Your country is a psychopathic, gun toting nightmare filled with racists and religious bigots with IQs lower than slugs. If you had better prenatal care available free to all women as we do in Canada, perhaps you wouldnt have so many morons and you wouldn't have infant and maternal death rates twice as high as Canada.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora