December 18 marks International Migrants Day! Today, CPJ upholds the right to migration, acknowledging that all people have a right to seek safety from terror, persecution, war, and natural disaster, as well as to pursue economic security. CPJ stands #WithRefugees and affirms that they are welcome in our communities!
Canadian Policy Challenges
While Canada has a history of providing welcome to migrants and refugees, many issues still exist in our immigration system. Major problems involve lengthy wait times for resettlement, expensive travel costs for resettled refugees, and allocation limits that restrict the number of refugees that can be resettled. These issues are outlined in detail in CPJ’s A Half Welcome report, released in April 2017.
Most recently, ongoing challenges face refugee claimants arriving to Canada from the United States. The Safe-Third Country Agreement requires refugee claimants to be returned to the United States if they apply for protection at a Port of Entry, but with anti-immigrant policy changes and a rhetoric of fear by the current U.S. administration, refugees are often denied the chance to a fear hearing. More on the STCA here.
National Church Responses
CPJ firmly believes that migrants and refugees strengthen our communities through their unique contributions. Today, there are over 250 million migrants and 65.6 million refugees, and many are in need of protection. In light of escalating international need, several church leaders have released statements about refugees and the right to migration:
“In a spirit of compassion, let us embrace all those fleeing from war and hunger, or forced by discrimination, persecution, poverty and environmental degradation to leave their homelands.”
—Pope Francis, 51st World Day of Peace
“Fair and generous policies strengthen the economy of our nations and enrich the economic, social and cultural fabric of our countries – a fabric woven by both the First Peoples of these lands and all those who have settled here through numerous waves of migration throughout our histories.”
—Anglican/Lutheran Statement: Remember the Refugees and Migrants
“Christians are right to advocate for immigration policies within a given nation that will be more just, fair, and generous and that will assist the nation in welcoming more strangers as citizens.”
“With more than 65 million people forcibly displaced globally… the work of enhancing, improving and expanding mechanisms to provide durable solutions for forcibly displaced people has rapidly increased in urgency.”
—Challenges and Opportunities in Refugee Resettlement, MCC Canada
More information about denominational stances can be found on our Church Resources page here.