Canada is about to launch a four-week information campaign in northeast Hungary to discourage bogus asylum claimants from travelling to the country, its embassy told state news agency MTI this week.
Hungary has in recent years been Canada’s largest single source of asylum applicants, mostly Roma citing fears for their personal safety. This, and a similar influx from other Central and Eastern European countries, was a major catalyst for a recent overhaul of Canada’s immigration policy.
You can keep your huddled masses
What? Who, me?
“No one is sending Roma to Miskolc,” the mayor of the eastern city, Ákos Kriza, told reporters on Wednesday, the day after the Canadian Embassy informed him of its planned campaign. Kriza, quoted in the local news website Borsod Online, said he had written to both the embassy and the Hungarian government to express his anger at Miskolc being singled out for such a media campaign.
“I told them categorically that Canada is not going to send Roma to Miskolc,” Kriza said.
The conservative administration of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pushed through an Immigration and Refugee Protection Act last year, aimed at curbing abuse of the country’s asylum system. Under the legislation, the immigration minister can draw up a list of Designated Countries of Origin considered safe by the Canadian authorities.
Incumbent Jason Kenney unveiled his list in December when the new law took effect. Hungary is on it.
No more Mr. Nice Guy
Asylum seekers from the US, European Union countries (with the notable exceptions of Romania and Bulgaria) and Croatia will now wait no longer than 45 days before a hearing and be subject to prompt removal from the sparsely populated North American nation if the claim is rejected, even if they appeal against the decision.
Furthermore, they will not be eligible to free healthcare nor permitted to work while their claim is being processed.
“Asylum claims will be adjudicated in weeks instead of years. We will send bogus asylum seekers home faster.” – Canada is planning a billboard campaign to convince Hungarian Roma that seeking asylum there is no longer worth the bother.