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Unfortunately, when tragedy strikes it seems that after only a few weeks of scrutinizing media coverage it drops off the radar very abruptly. But as the media seems to pick up and move on just two months after the earthquake, Canada is still doing their part to help the citizens of Haiti. However, the process is very slow going so far.
The Government of Canada has received thousands of Haitians applying to come and live in Canada, but only 160 have received permanent resident visas by this week.
According to Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney:
160 Haitians have received permanent resident visas, the Government of Canada has issued 1,500 temporary resident visas (mostly to people who are with Canadians leaving Haiti) and 203 adoptions of Haitians have also been granted.
These comments came on Tuesday, when Minister Kenney was testifying before a parliamentary committee on the progress so far. He said that he expects the process to become much faster as time goes on.
“Every week we are processing more and I think the special program will pick up momentum,” he said.
The immense devastation caused by the January earthquake is mostly at fault for the lack of speed in the permanent residency processes. According to Minister Kenney, the earthquake left Haiti in such despair that that it has left their immigration department damaged, caused delays in medical exams and the police and judicial system have all been compromised, making any security checks extremely difficult.
While the process for Haitians applying for permanent and temporary residence has been fast-tracked, it is important to know that despite the recent crackdown on unscrupulous immigration consultants there are still many out there who are willing to take advantage of such a serious situation and attempt to help Haitians with their applications or even encourage them to lie.
Now that the dust has settled on this story it seems (in the eyes of the media), there are still real lives at stake here. It is incumbent on Citizenship and Immigration Canada to keep its commitment to help Haitians in their time of need: Media or no media.
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