You go guy! The Catholic Sentinel reported two days ago on an exchange between the Canadian bishops and Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism on the issue of human smuggling.
I laughed because I cannot imagine any American politician slamming the powerful (with your taxpayer dollars) US Conference of Catholic Bishops as Kenney does here calling the bishops part of the “immigration industry!” Alas, in Canada, and unlike the US, they are having the much needed knock-down-drag-em-out discussion on refugees and asylum seekers while we (and the media) sweep any discussion of reform under the rug. [Note to our critics: this is why we write this blog, to counter the glossing-over that is going on in most media circles and within our government about legal immigration problems.]
OTTAWA, Ontario — Jason Kenney, minister of citizenship, immigration and multiculturalism, has fired back at Canada’s bishops who criticized his recently introduced anti-human smuggling bill.
The views expressed by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ justice and peace commission in a Nov. 25 letter reflect a “long tradition of ideological bureaucrats who work for the bishops’ conference producing political letters signed by pastors who may not have specialized knowledge in certain areas of policy,” Kenney said in an interview.
The bishops’ intervention underscores the reason why “the church makes the detailed application of moral principles in public policy the prudential responsibility of legislators who have a technical knowledge of how to apply the principles,” he said.
The bishops warned that portions of the Preventing Human Smugglers From Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act now before the House of Commons might contravene international and Canadian law concerning the rights of refugees.
The bishops reminded Kenney that national interests and security concerns should not trump human dignity.
“We believe that human smuggling undermines human dignity,” Kenney said. “It’s an industry of profiteers who sell people an illegal service to smuggle them to countries in the most dangerous way possible.
Fake grassroots coalitions in the immigration industry!
Kenney suggested that the bishops’ conference staff members who write letters on public policy issues or the bishops themselves bring their concerns to government officials rather than “cut and paste” arguments circulating in “fake grassroots coalitions” of “special interest groups in the immigration industry.”
Kenney also said the bishops’ conference has not said anything on the 20 percent increase in the resettlement of refugees even though the program is “hugely unpopular politically.”
Readers, when envisioning human traffickers, think about groups like the US federal refugee contractor, Church World Service, having one of its subcontractors arrested taking Haitians illegally across the Canadian border, here, in 2007.