- If I were a Hungarian or European Union leader, I would be pretty chagrined by Mr. Kenney’s presence in Miskolc. (Imagine if native Canadians were fleeing to Sweden as refugees, and its foreign minister flew in to Attawapiskat, Ont., to view the dire situation first hand.) Canada’s uniquely welcoming refugee system makes the Roma our problem: In the first two quarters of this year, there were an absurd 1,389 claimants from Hungary — 13% of the total and nearly double the second-highest source, which was China. But it is the Roma’s situation in Eastern Europe that drives them abroad. That’s Europe’s problem. And that cradle of modern human rights can’t solve it.
- Persecution and abuse don’t just infest the former Soviet bloc countries. A harrowing 2010 BBC documentary, Gypsy Child Thieves, detailed the appalling situation on the streets of Madrid: Children sent out to steal by their parents, often meeting with (understandably) violent responses from their adult targets. A developed country such as Spain should be taking these children into care; instead they mostly wind up back in the slums.
- There is no point sugarcoating the problems. The violence and discrimination the Roma face in Europe is visceral and entrenched in a way that has no analogue in modern Canada. Spend a night in Budapest and you might be shocked by what you hear about the Roma. Spend a week and you’ll likely have a sense of why people talk that way. The Roma street crime pandemic needn’t be a reflection on “all Roma,” but if the only Roma one encounters are street criminals … well, human nature is what it is. It makes it extremely difficult for Roma, especially those who “look” Roma, to lead respectable and prosperous lives.
- Canada can’t solve that problem. The poorest, most persecuted Roma can’t get here anyway. What Canada can do is make sure that it remains a rare island of tolerance for Roma in a sea of antipathy.
- Last month, police in Durham, Ont., east of Toronto, reported busting up a massive criminal ring, allegedly run by Romanian Roma, that among other things was practising European-style distraction thefts on the streets of Oshawa, Ont.
- Roma have lived remarkably quietly in Canada, but this is precisely how a backlash would start. Indeed, Sun News personality Ezra Levant took to the airwaves with a stomach-turning attack — even by his standards — on the entire global Roma community. The Jewish Tribune reports this week that Toronto’s Roma Community Centre is considering pursuing a criminal complaint against Mr. Levant — which is troublesome, regardless of the letter of the law, because that’s likely exactly the battle he seeks.
Four Toronto churches have agreed to hide asylum-seekers whose refugee claims have been rejected and others say they are considering the request, the Star has learned.…Jozsef Pusuma, his wife Timea Daroczi and their 4-year-old daughter Viktoria are believed to be the only people currently receiving sanctuary in Toronto. The family has been hiding in an Anglican church in downtown Toronto since December after a federal court judge approved a deportation order against the Hungarian Roma family.
For five years before arriving in Toronto in September 2009, Pusuma, 41, worked as a researcher for Veronika Mohacsi, a prominent Roma and member of the European Parliament. It was a dangerous job. Pusuma frequently received death threats both over the phone and in person.
When Pusuma and his wife appeared for their Immigration and Refugee Board hearing a year and a half after their arrival in Canada, their immigration consultant tried to introduce as evidence a letter from Mohacsi that said Pusuma had worked for her. The IRB panel refused it because the letter had not been translated into English as required, according to court documents.
If he returns to Hungary, he believes he will be targeted.…“Sanctuary is a stopgap,” said Creal, 85. “We don’t want a million people living in church basements. Our end game is to have revisions to Bill C-31 to make things more fair.”
Creal said the pending refugee legislation would make a rejected asylum-seeker wait for a year before filing a humanitarian appeal. Essentially, that means he or she would be deported from Canada and, months later, file a request from overseas.…Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the new restrictions are necessary because Canada is a haven to many false refugees who exploit the social welfare system.
In response, Kenney has created a “safe list” of countries. If an asylum-seeker comes from a country on the list, their case will be fast-tracked in a matter of weeks — meaning rejected applicants will be processed and deported before they can qualify for Canadian social assistance programs.
Toronto refugee lawyer Andrew Brouwer, who represents Pusuma, said refugee hearings under the new system would be held within six weeks of a claimant’s arrival in Canada. The problem is, all documents relating to the cases, including police and medical reports, must be submitted more than 20 days ahead of the hearing. That would leave claimants about three weeks to land in Canada, find a lawyer, complete their refugee applications, and obtain the necessary documents from their home country.