Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

More families from Gaza will be able to apply for asylum | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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The Canadian Minister of 'Immigration, Marc Miller (Archive photo)

The Canadian Press

Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller announced Monday that Canada will allow more people stuck in the Gaza Strip and who have extended family members in Canada to apply for temporary asylum – “a meager “consolation,” he admits.

The government created a family reunification program in January that offers temporary asylum to parents, grandparents, brothers , sisters and grandchildren of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Canada.

The Immigration Department initially clarified that it would only examine a thousand applications for this exceptional and temporary program.

Minister Miller announced Monday that the government is now increasing this number.

On the other hand, none of the people whose names appeared on the lists provided to the authorities by Ottawa have so far been able to cross the tightly controlled border at Rafah. As of March 4, 986 requests had been accepted by the Canadian government.

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Displaced Palestinian children and a man look outside their tent in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, March 8, 2024.

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Minister Miller said Canada is pleading with Egypt and Israel to let these people out so they can pass their security check in Egypt and obtain their Canadian visa.

We are effectively increasing the number of people who will be eligible to leave Gaza. There are a number of issues that are beyond our control, including the ability to get people out to Rafah.

A quote from Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller

We will tirelessly advocate for people to be reunited with their family members at Canada, if only temporarily, added the minister.

Immigration lawyers and family members argue that dozens of other people were left in limbo – and unsure whether they were still eligible for the program – after managing to get to Egypt on their own, including paying companies private individuals to negotiate their exit with Israeli and Egyptian officials.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada indicated earlier this month in a press release that only 12 of these people had left Gaza, completed the security check and been allowed to come to Canada.

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