The Liberal government is holding the line on its immigration and refugee policy in the wake of the U.S. travel ban, but leaving the door open to future adjustments as they continue to study the far-reaching – and fast-changing – implications.
At NDP immigration critic Jenny Kwan’s request, MPs held the emergency debate Tuesday evening on the U.S. travel ban and how Canada should respond.
In the debate, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair urged the government to lift an “artificial, arbitrary” cap on the number of Syrian refugees who can be brought to Canada through private sponsorships, which is currently set at 1,000 applications – a target that was reached over the weekend.
“A cap such as this one, especially when the United States has banned admission to Syrian refugees for an indeterminate time is completely unacceptable and goes against the international law that has been advocated since the Second World War,” Mulcair said.
Kwan said the intent of the debate was to find out how the ban will affect Canadians and how the Liberal government plans to deal with it. The ban doesn’t allow nationals from seven Muslim-majority countries into the U.S. for 90 days as the government reviews its vetting process. It also puts a halt on refugees for 120 days.
So far, a representative from the Immigration Department confirmed to Global News that Canadian “permanent residents travelling with a valid Canadian permanent resident card and passport from one of the seven affected countries will continue to have access to the United States and will need to continue meeting the U.S. requirement to hold a valid U.S. visa.”
Canadian dual citizens of the affected countries are also exempt from the ban.
*with files from Amy Minsky and the Canadian Press