By Barry Ellsworth
Canada announced Monday it will scrap the lottery system for reuniting immigrant families and is raising the number of sponsor applications it will accept in 2019.
Rather than use the random luck selection method, applications to sponsor parents and grandparents to join relatives in Canada will be processed in the order they are received.
As well, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the number of parent and grandparent applications will be increased to 20,500 in 2019, up from the current cap of 17,000.
Reverting to the first-come first-serve system from random selection instituted in 2018 reflects criticism who felt the draw was not fair.
Canadians “did express some concerns about the lottery, the random selection process,” Hussen said Monday. “What I am announcing … is feedback that we got from Canadians that they would like to see changes in the selection process.
“This is a fairer first-in system that will benefit all those who are interested.”
The Canadian attitude is a far cry from that of the American immigration system, where U.S. President Donald Trump said family-based immigration is “chain migration.”
“A single immigrant can bring in virtually unlimited numbers of distant relatives,” he has often stated.
Actually, U.S. citizens and legal residents can sponsor only limited close relatives.
But it is difficult to sponsor close relatives in either country because of a cap on the numbers.
In Canada more than 95,000 completed online sponsorship forms in 2018 and from those applications, 10,000 potential sponsors were selected at random.
What Canada has not done in stark contrast to the U.S., is separate parents and children that cross the border illegally from the U.S.
In early summer, more than 2,000 children were taken from parents crossing illegally into the U.S. from the south and put in camps.
The resulting fiasco was roundly criticized and the practice dropped, but to this day there are still children waiting to be reunited with their parents.