The president of the Canadian bishops’ conference has written a frank letter to Canada’s federal immigration minister urging immediate government action to unclog delays in processing refugee applicants. Bishop Douglas Crosby, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, wrote to John McCallum to say many sponsoring groups have become frustrated by long wait times and money spent on apartments for refugee families who have yet to arrive. “Needless to say, delayed arrivals and the lack of clear and transparent communication about the status of pending cases poses the risk of undermining the faith of Canadians in the government’s ability to follow through on its promises,” Bishop Crosby wrote on Oct. 6. Bishop Crosby said Canadians responded generously in late 2015 and early 2016 when the government promised “arrival timelines of less than two months.” This led to sponsoring groups signing leases and renting properties, as they expected arrivals to be imminent.
Canada bishops deplore refugee delays
John McCallum, Canada's Immigration Minister, speaks during a Sept. 19 meeting on refugees and migrants at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City. Bishop Douglas Crosby of Hamilton, Ontario, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, has asked McCallum to unclog delays in processing refugee applicants in order to preserve confidence in the refugee sponsorship program. (CNS photo/Carlo Allegri, Reuters)