Customs and Immigration Union (PSAC) Press Release

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Customs and Immigration Union (PSAC) Press Release

Customs and Immigration Union Calls on Government to Ensure Immigration Enforcement Reforms Are Effective

The National President of the Customs and Immigration Union (CIU), which represents Canada's Immigration Inland Enforcement Officers and Front- Line Customs & Immigration Officers, today called on the Harper Government to take practical internal measures to ensure that announced enforcement measures move forward effectively.

"Like all law-abiding Canadians, we applaud the Harper Government for recently taking a number of steps to prioritize the detection, apprehension, and removal from Canada of persons who have been found inadmissible on the grounds of war crimes or other criminality, and who have fled to avoid the enforcement of the law" noted CIU National President Ron Moran.

The CIU has long been an advocate of improved screening and enforcement measures including advocating the deployment of a modern facial-recognition biometric lookout system at all points-of-entry, and by recommending a reduction in the number of repetitive regulatory reviews and appeals available to non-citizen convicted criminals and to those deemed to be a security threat making them inadmissible to Canada. The current system also permits the early release from custody of criminally convicted non-citizens while they engage these multiple appeals against their removal. This contributes to the situation identified by the Auditor General in 2008, when it was revealed that over 40,000 persons ordered removed from Canada, including convicted criminals and security related inadmissible individuals, have gone "missing" and are the subject of arrest warrants.

While the CIU supports the Harper Government's recent efforts to apprehend these fugitives through public information, Moran noted that the Government should look at its own practices to ensure enforcement priorities are not compromised.

"Just as the system itself needs to be modernized, so too does Government need to end the ten year dispute on the job classification of Immigration Inland Enforcement Officers assigned to these high risk duties, and increase their numbers. We currently only have 390 such officers assigned to these critical positions, and the outdated position classification level is a major barrier to Officer hiring and retention. Hiring people off the street on a temporary basis is not the answer as these short-term projects actually take full-time Officers off the street to train them.

Improving public safety and systemic integrity is clearly a goal of the Government's recent initiatives, and we salute them for that effort. What is needed, however, is a realistic acknowledgment by Government of the high risk duties performed by these Officers so that their critical mission can effectively be accomplished on behalf of Canadians."

Moran noted the productive relationship between the CIU and the Harper Government since 2006, and acknowledged that it has produced significant improvements for public and Officer safety.

"Our members recognize that this Government has taken a keen interest in seeking out the facts and operational insights from field and front-line officers as they craft improvements for Canadians in border security and Immigration enforcement related areas. Modernizing the classification of Immigration Inland Enforcement Officers to match their vital duties is a practical, effective, and necessary action that supports the Government's laudable goals, and we look forward to working cooperatively towards that purpose."

The Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) is a component of the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC), which represents Canada's Front-Line Customs and Immigration Officers. CIU also represents Investigation, Intelligence and Trade Customs Officers, Immigration Inland Enforcement and Hearings Officers, as well as all support staff - all of whom work at the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

Ron Moran
National President
(613) 677-1090

Jonathan Choquette
Communications & Political Coordination Officer
(819) 773-2511