The government’s singling out of the Hungarian Roma community as justification for tough new refugee laws proposed in Bill C-31 is overtly racist and completely unfair, according to a community leader who says she’s stepping up to give Canada’s 80,000 European Gypsies a voice.
Toronto Roma Community Centre executive director Gina Csanyi-Robah was among the final witnesses to testify before a Commons committee reviewing the bill Thursday.
She asked the government to drop a key clause that would designate certain countries as “safe,” non-typical producers of refugees and fast-track applicants under the belief they are not bona fide claimants.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has suggested bogus Hungarian Roma claimants are behind the proposed change as they’re applying for refugee status in droves yet often abandon their claims prematurely or fail to show up for hearings.
He often points to an incident involving 91 claimants who showed up illegally in Toronto on a single plane last fall, as well as the case of Ferenc Domotor who was convicted last month of organizing a human smuggling ring involving Hungarian refugees who abused the welfare system, as reasons why it’s time for a crack down.
“This racist stereotyping, I really want that to end today,” the second-generation RomaCanadian said before the meeting. “I’ve been hearing testimony from people for the past three days that are coming in front of our government and generalizing this entire community as criminals … and people that just want to live off the welfare system.”