Editor – Revista Encuentro
The controversial Canadian Immigration has announced a further change to the immigration system that will require sponsored spouses to live with their sponsor for two years or risk losing their permanent resident status and face deportation.
“There are countless cases of marriage fraud across the country,” said Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney in a news release today. “I have consulted widely with Canadians, and especially with victims of marriage fraud, who have told me clearly that we must take action to stop this abuse of our immigration system.”
Meanwhile, a group representing more than 80 organizations from across Canada who have opposed the introduction of conditional permanent residence, responded to the announcement with dismay.
The Canadian Council for Refugees President Loly Rico voiced concern that these changes “give power to the sponsor who may use the threat of deportation to manipulate their spouse. In situations of domestic abuse or violence, this measure will be a gift to an abuser”. With these changes, a spouse who leaves their sponsor within two years of arrival in Canada for reasons of domestic abuse, could be stripped of permanent resident status and deported.
This is the latest in a string of changes to the immigration policies of Canada under the Harper Conservatives, particularly since they obtained a majority government. Many civil society organizations have continually expressed concern about the purpose of these changes, which continue to make immigration into Canada inaccessible. The most notable of these changes include:
Militant for the Latino social organization Barrio Nuevo, Luis Granados said “there is an obvious intention on the part of the Canadian government, to make coming and staying in this country difficult unless you are wealthy or unless you are willing to be exploited”. Granados added that the Latin American community needs to organize, particularly with other working class communities and organizations, to confront these policies that “attack the rights of immigrants and workers, which are the rights of all humans.”