CBSA report recommended tightening refugee rules

The Canadian Border Services Agency urged the federal government to reinstate a visa requirement on Hungary in the early draft of a report on criminal activity by some Hungarian refugee claimants.

A draft report by the Canadian Border Services Agency into criminal activity by Hungarian refugee claimants urges the federal government to reinstate a visa requirement on the country, something it has been reluctant to do in the face of ongoing EU trade negotiations.

The final report by the CBSA changes tack: it urges the government to adopt stricter measures to stem the flow of what the border agency considers an "irregular" wave of illegitimate refugee claims.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says he raised the issue of possible fraud by Hungarian refugee claimants during a visit to Budapest last week. (Imre Foldi/MTI/Associated Press)

But just such stricter measures are already on the books and are about to be implemented.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney recently passed the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act, which allows him to place countries such as Hungary on a designated country list. Under the new system, claims from those countries would be processed faster, with no right of appeal.

Kenney has yet to reveal which countries will be placed on that list.

Peter Showler, a former IRB chair and now refugee scholar at the University of Ottawa, is a strong opponent of parts of the new law. He adds that Kenney has been responsible for spreading false and negative stereotypes about the Roma.

Government accused of 'stereotyping'

"The principle source of stereotyping of Roma has been our own Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney," Showler says.

There have been repeated allegations by Kenney and other members of the government referring to Roma arriving in Canada in order to take advantage of Canada's welfare benefits, Showler says.

"It was direct and blatant ... even though there is no evidence for it whatsoever. One of the things we hear from the Roma community is that these are exactly the kind of pernicious, deep-seated allegations that have been alleged against the Roma in Hungary."

The law is expected to be implemented sometime later this year, and has been criticized by refugee advocates for failing to provide a fair process.

Kenney raises issue in Hungary

In a conference call Tuesday from London, England, Kenney told reporters he raised the issue of Hungarian Roma refugee claimants with government officials when he met with them last week in Hungary. Kenney said he spelled out what the new rules for Designated Countries of Origin will be.

"If three-quarters of the claims coming from a particular country have been rejected by the IRB, or if 60 per cent or more of claimants coming from a particular country have abandoned or withdrawn they claims, such countries would be subject to designation," Kenney says.

A spokesman for Kenney says no final decision has been taken as to which countries will be placed on the DCO list.