Minister Kenney Speaks at BORDERPOL Conference
By A Correspondent
Border management and protection is no longer a local or regional issue, it is a global challenge!
Jason Kenney, Canada’s Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, Mark Harper, UK MP, and Tony Smith, Interim Head of UK Border Force, delivered keynote speeches at the opening of the inaugural BORDERPOL Conference and Exhibition to a delegation of senior international border agency heads and industry professionals, on October 16 at London UK.
Minister Kenney highlighted Canada’s efforts to enhance the security and integrity of our immigration system.
“The first responsibility of the state is to protect the safety and security of its citizens,” Minister Kenney said during his keynote address. “By developing laws, policies, and practices that make our immigration system more secure, we believe we are helping to ensure continuing support for that system.”
The inaugural BORDERPOL Conference, hosted by the U.K. Border Force, is a leading forum for international sharing of experiences and best practices among specialists in the border control industry. The two-day event is the first of its kind.
Minister Kenney spoke alongside Mark Harper, the U.K. Minister of State for Immigration. Delivering his address to an audience composed of border management, immigration, customs and security policy makers and practitioners, Minister Kenney highlighted Canada’s integrity measures in border and migration management.
“When I became Minister, I was acutely aware that Canada had a reputation – fairly or not – as an international ‘soft touch’ when it came to immigration and border security,” Minister Kenney stated. “In recent years, we have worked very hard to change this impression. We have done so, in part, by introducing a good number of tough-but-fair initiatives to bolster the security of our immigration system.”
Of note, Minister Kenney spoke of the many changes to Canada’s immigration system, including:
- stronger laws to combat human smuggling;
- reforms to deter unfounded refugee claims and other abuses of the refugee determination system;
- cracking down on immigration fraud;
- the tabling of a new law that would allow Canada to remove foreign criminals more quickly by limiting appeal mechanisms;
- proposed tougher penalties for those who commit immigration fraud; and
- the introduction of biometric screening of visitors to Canada.
The Minister further noted that recent efforts to crack down on fraud and abuse in Canada’s immigration system, including residency fraud and fraudulent asylum claims, help restore Canadians’ faith in the immigration system, which ultimately allows Canada to continue to have the most generous system in the world. In fact, since 2006, the government has maintained the highest sustained levels of immigration in Canadian history.
“Canadians are rightly proud of our generous approach to refugee protection. As one example, at a time when other countries are reducing their programs to resettle refugees from overseas, Canada maintains one of the largest such programs in the world,” Minister Kenney stated during his speech.
The Minister stressed that Canada takes its international obligations seriously, cooperating with other countries in sharing policy and operational experiences, as well as increasingly sharing information and intelligence. On this most recent trip, Minister Kenney has met with immigration and law enforcement experts in Hungary, Sweden and the U.K. to discuss the shared challenges of facilitating legal migration while combating illegal immigration, which is often associated with organized criminal activity and human smuggling operations.