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article imageCanada to accept more Iraqi refugees

By Kevin Jess     Oct 23, 2010 in World
Ottawa - The Canadian government announced today it will extend its measures for Iraqi refugees for at least two additional years. As a result Canada will now be resettling an additional 8,600 refugees.
Since 2009, in response to conditions in Iraq and requests from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Canada has more than doubled the number of resettled refugees it would welcome through its mission in Damascus, where most Iraqi refugees apply.
At that time, Canada committed to resettling approximately 2,500 refugees a year under its private sponsorship program between 2009 and 2011. In 2010, Canada also increased the number of refugees from Damascus it plans to resettle through the UN program as government-assisted refugees, from 1,400 to 1,800 per year.
Canada's Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said in todays press release, "These refugees choose to wait for the chance to come to Canada legally, rather than pay human smugglers to help them jump the queue. The Government of Canada appreciates their respect for our laws, and we look forward to welcoming them to Canada. It is unfair to those seeking to come to Canada through legitimate, legal means such as the measure I am announcing today, when others pay human smugglers to help jump our immigration queue. When this happens, Canada's immigration system becomes less fair, and less balanced."
Today's announcement extends the commitment by at least two years to 2013.
Minister Kenney said, "Canada already has a generous resettlement program. And now, up to 8,600 more refugees will find protection in Canada. At a time when many other countries are scaling back their refugee programs, we are actually expanding ours."
As part of the Balanced Refugee Reform Act Canada will increase the number of resettled refugees received each year by 20 percent including 2,000 more spots in the Private Sponsorship of Refugees Program and 500 more government-assisted refugees meaning Canada will now be accepting 14,500 refugees per year through its resettlement programs.
Canada accepts one out of every 10 refugees or 10 percent of the refugees resettled globally through its refugee programs.
Minister Kenney said, "Canada has a long humanitarian tradition of helping those most in need. Over the last few years, we have resettled more than 3,900 Karen from Thailand and we are in the process of resettling up to 5,000 Bhutanese refugees from Nepal."
In total, Canada has welcomed more than 200,000 refugees from all over the world, over and above the number of refugees resettled through the government assisted program.
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