Canada and the US: Improving Immigration by Sharing Applicant Information


The North American neighbours will continue to align their border security with a proposal expected to be fully implemented by next fall. The proposal will allow the sharing of personal information for 2.2 million foreigners applying to come to Canada by checking them against American records. In the past, bilateral information sharing has been used but has been limited to 3,000 applicants.

This bilateral information sharing agreement was justified on the grounds that it will be able to better identify and decrease the number of false refugee claims. Also, that it will decrease the total volume of crime, and reduce the costs of removing illegal foreign nationals by initially denying them entry to Canada.

“Case-by-case immigration information-sharing has been effective in that it has uncovered instances of foreign nationals using false identities, inadmissible criminals attempting to enter Canada, fraudulent refugee claims and individuals providing information on the immigration application that was not credible,” explains Chris Gregory, director of Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

It is important to note that Canadian and American Citizens, as well as permanent residents, will not be included in the personal information sharing agreement. However, the plan has raised concerns regarding privacy issues concerning the personal information of all prospective newcomers and settlers, such as applicant’s date of birth, travel document numbers, and fingerprints.

However, when using the information sharing databases, the country performing the search must delete the biographic or biometric information sent in by the other country. To further improve security and privacy, officials from one country will not have direct access to the other’s database.

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