U.S. has no concerns over Canada's Syrian refugees plan: McCallum
Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, December 3, 2015 1:19PM EST
Immigration Minister John McCallum said United States officials have not expressed any concerns about the government's plan to accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by early 2016, which he said should be "comforting" to Canadians.
Speaking at an event in Toronto on Thursday, McCallum said he has spoken to officials with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security about the influx of Syrian refugees who'll be making their way to Canada in the coming months.
"I am happy to be able to tell you that no alarm bells at all have gone up from our neighbours to the south," McCallum said. "That should be comforting to Canadians too, because Americans, by virtue of their past and their long-held policies, are naturally concerned about security issues."
McCallum also said that the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Canada Border Services Agency are satisfied with the vetting process that refugees coming into Canada will be subjected to.
McCallum said that, once the refugees land on Canadian soil, they'll be permanent residents, so all security and health checks will take place overseas.
The refugees will first be identified by the United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) before going through another screening by Canadian officials.
"When those people come through that (UNHCR) list, each of them is subjected to an intensive interview by Canadian experts overseas," he said.
McCallum said that refugees' fingerprints will be taken and checked against various Canadian and U.S. databases.
He added that Canadian officials processing refugees overseas will be taking "a hard line."
"There are literally millions of refugees out there, and we are choosing 25,000," he said.
"So if someone interviewed by one of our agents appears to raise any question or carry any risk, that file is set aside for later consideration and we move on."