Conservatives ask government to issue travel documents for Afghans fleeing Taliban

JASRAJ Singh Hallan, Conservative critic for Immigration Refugees and Citizenship, and Pierre Paul-Hus, Conservative critic for Public Services and Procurement, on Tuesday called on Immigration Minister Sean Fraser and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to issue urgently needed single-use travel documents to Afghans who worked with Canada and who are now fleeing the Taliban.

Hallan and Paul-Hus said in a statement: “The revelations that came out of the Special Committee on Afghanistan last night, and tragic personal stories reported by media, underscore the crisis Afghans are facing under Taliban rule. People are being tortured and killed while waiting to come to Canada.

“While this crisis unfolded, rather than focus all of Canada’s efforts on evacuating as many Afghans as possible, [Prime minister] Justin Trudeau went ahead with his unnecessary election. Months later, the Trudeau government is still dragging its feet in getting Afghans and their families left behind safely to Canada.”

They pointed out: “IRCC still requires applicants to provide biometric data before being issued travel documents, something impossible to do within Afghanistan itself, forcing individuals and their families to travel to third countries such as Pakistan.”

They added: “Conservatives have heard firsthand from those fleeing Afghanistan at the Special Committee the value a single-use travel document would have. The ability to provide travel documents indicating the intention to travel to Canada while travelling through third-party countries would help secure entry into these countries and expedite the process immensely while still allowing for reasonable security concerns to be met.”

Hallan and Paul-Hus stressed: “Urgent action is needed on behalf of the government to do whatever is necessary to get as many Afghans as possible out of Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Delays, red tape, and unreasonable requirements has made this process untenable. The time for bureaucratic excuses has long past, Conservatives will continue to advocate for those Afghan interpreters, support staff, and their families desperate to flee the Taliban, and we will hold this government to account for their handling of this tragic situation.”