NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 12, 2006

Canada's lenient asylum, immigration and refugee-status laws have made the country a haven for terrorists with easy access to the United States, says the Washington Times. The threat was spotlighted Thursday at a hearing held by House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims.

According to David Harris, formerly strategic planning chief for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS):

  • Much of the problem stems from the fact that in per capita terms, Canada takes in double the number of immigrants and three to four times the number of refugees as the United States.
  • Moreover, Canada is unable to effectively screen and integrate these immigrants, with approximately 90 percent of applicants from Afghanistan and Pakistan being insufficiently vetted for security purposes.
  • Canada's security problems have been further exacerbated by the fact that politicians from the Liberal Party, ousted from power in January's national elections, curried favor with Islamists and friends of the Tamil Tigers.

On the positive side, new Prime Minister Stephen Harper, whose Conservative Party has been in power just over 100 days, and who heads a minority government, has acted to ban the Tamil Tigers. But the Islamist threat has benefited from a lethal combination of Saudi money and radical clerics that have helped turn Canada into a home of radicals who fought in such places as Chechnya, Afghanistan and Bosnia. In total, according to Canadian intelligence, there are more than 350 jihadists and 50 terrorist groups with a presence in Canada.

Most troubling of all, says the Times, is the testimony of Janice Kephart, a former counsel to the September 11 commission: "...terrorists with Canadian, Caribbean or Mexican citizenship can move in and out of the United States...virtually unconcerned about detection," and that al-Qaida is working to exploit these weaknesses in order to attack us again.

Source: Editorial, "Danger from the north," Washington Times, June 12, 2006.


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