Immigration minister attends Brampton town hall

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As usual there were mostly first-generation immigrants who expressed their frustration with the immigration system. There was the usual litany of complaints mostly about the length of time it took to sponsor family members and spouses from overseas.

“We can’t fix everything in the immigration system immediately. It takes time,” federal immigration minister Ahmed Hussen told a crowd of more than 150 gathered at Century Gardens Recreation Centre.

This Town Hall was hosted by local MPs, and the lucky participants had the opportunity to ask the minister questions relating to family and spousal reunification, immigration processing times, rights for undocumented workers and Canada’s role in aiding refugees and displaced peoples.

More than 200 questions were submitted to organizers prior to the start of the event. The immigration minister not only arrived late but departed abruptly after about an hour leaving dozens of participants visibly upset at not being able to get their questions answered.

If there is one issue that is most relevant to a significant number of Bramptonians it has to be immigration. Few other issues seem to matter more to residents. Brampton West MP Kamal Khera told the crowd that immigration is by far the biggest issue local federal representatives deal with.

Immigration is by far the toughest file for any government and it is loaded with minefields. Any change or hint of reform is met with pushback that can bedevil the government of the day.

Hussen listed changes made under the Liberal government since winning power 2015, including shortening the time it takes to gain Canadian citizenship from 24 months to 12 months. On family reunification, the minister said the government managed to clear a backlog in the system by 20,000 cases as well as reduce processing times in the majority of spousal reunification cases to 12 months.

But according to many new immigrants some of whom also worry about jobs and housing affordability spend more time trying to bring in family members who in turn will want to bring in even more family members. This all but guarantees that MPs in Brampton will be dealing with immigration concerns for decades. – CINEWS

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