Border Control & Passport

Border Officer challenges, Passport issues

Refugee deal with U.S.

Almost simultaneously with the arrival in Ottawa of President Joe Biden today, it’s reported that Canada and the U.S. have an agreement permitting them to turn away asylum seekers at their borders. Disclosed by an official in Washington, the agreement evidently is scheduled to be signed before Biden heads home March 24. [node:read-more:link]

Free visas for Ukrainians extended

Immigration, Refugees & Citizenship Minister Sean Fraser announced today that Ukrainians and their families now have until July 15 to apply for a free visitor visa which enables them to work and study for up to three years. The previous deadline was March 31. [node:read-more:link]

Nexus ramping back up

The federal government said March 20 that it expects that the Nexus trusted-traveller program with the U.S. to be back in full operation in about a month. Registration for the program has been on hold for nearly a year, partly because of bureaucratic and legal issues, resulting in backlogged applications. Enrolment centres will reopen at the Halifax and Winnipeg airports on March 27, followed by Vancouver April 3, Calgary and Edmonton April 12, Montreal April 17 and Toronto and Ottawa April 24. [node:read-more:link]

Exploitive employers “scumbags”

Draft changes to Ontario labour law would leave employers who withhold foreign workers’ passports or work permits facing stiffer penalties. “One group of workers who are often forgotten are migrant workers,” Labour Minister Monte McNaughton said March 20. during a press conference on Monday. “My message to those scumbags out there abusing migrant workers is this: you can run, but you can’t hide. We will find you, fine you, and put you behind bars.” [node:read-more:link]

Biden set to visit Ottawa

NORAD, Russia, bilateral trade, industrial supply chains, climate change, clean energy and cross-border travel concerns are expected to feature prominently in U.S. President Joe Biden’s March 23-24 visit to Ottawa. Confirmed today, it will be Biden’s first visit as president since he assumed office in January 2021. [node:read-more:link]

Finland’s “barbed wire curtain”

A three-metre fence topped with barbed wire is being built along Finland’s eastern border because it “cannot rely” on Russia to maintain security. The construction is part of an effort by Finland and Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland to fence off the European Union against illegal immigration from Belarus as well as Russia. [node:read-more:link]

New U.S. focus on northern border

Canada’s border with the U.S. has largely avoided partisan politics in Washington but that may be changing. Twenty-eight members of Congress have formed a “northern border security caucus” focused on immigration, crime and national security. [node:read-more:link]

EU shelving Chinese virus tests

European Union states have agreed to phase out by the end of February their requirement that Chinese visitors have a pre-departure coronavirus test. When China eased its policies January 8, the EU initially failed to agree on a unified response. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa urged to tackle asylum crisis

Quebec Premier François Legault is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make the flow of migrants across an irregular border crossing in southern Quebec a priority during an upcoming with U.S. President Joe Biden. In a February 20 letter, he said Canada urgently needs to renegotiate an agreement which enables asylum seekers to enter at an “irregular” border crossing and overload his province’s social support resources. [node:read-more:link]

NY bussing migrants up to Canada

New York City is paying for bus tickets to the Canadian border for migrants who want to flee the Big Apple. The New York Post not only reported on the issue Sunday night, but they also confirmed it with top government officials. [node:read-more:link]

Quebecker faces 22 years in prison

A Quebec woman accused of mailing ricin to Donald Trump in 2020 pled guilty in U.S. District Court in Washington today and agreed to a sentence of nearly 22 years. Pascale Ferrier, 55, of Saint-Hubert, who was arrested at a border crossing in 2020, also pled guilty to eight charges related to similar offences against law enforcement and corrections officials in Texas in 2019. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta dropping immigration detentions

The Alberta government gave notice today of its plan to scrap an agreement with the Canada Border Services Agency to detain persons awaiting immigration approval. “The change comes in response to concerns about using correctional facilities to hold people who haven’t been charged with a criminal offence, nor convicted of one,” it said in a statement. The decision takes effect at the end of June. [node:read-more:link]

CRA staff want parity with CBSA

The union representing 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency employees is seeking wage increases totalling nearly 30 per cent over three years. A proposed one-time adjustment of nine per cent to address a long-standing imbalance with Canada Border Services Agency employees who administer the Excise Act would be atop three annual increments totalling 20.5 per cent. [node:read-more:link]

Six arrested in Ontario weapons cases

Two police operations in eastern Ontario across the St. Lawrence River from New York state have resulted in the arrests of six persons on firearms charges. In one case, the investigation leading to four arrests involved provincial, local and indigenous police services as well as the Canada Border Services Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. [node:read-more:link]

Russia releases U.S. detainee

A Michigan man detained in Russia since last April was released from custody today after months of secret negotiations. Taylor Dudley was arrested by Russian border patrol police after crossing from Poland, where he had been attending a music festival, into Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania. [node:read-more:link]


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