|Passengers walk past Air Canada planes on the runway at Pearson International Airport in Toronto April 13, 2012. (Mike Cassese/REUTERS)
TORONTO -- Ottawa is targeting for deportation upwards of 2,000 failed refugee claimants who've gone underground across the country, immigration documents show.
Some $11 million has been earmarked to fund the chase for 400 failed claimants in Quebec alone and 1,600 from other provinces, according to a 2012-2013 Planned Removals of Failed Refugee Claimants document.
The proposed removals follows a pilot project by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) to dish out up to $2,000 to each failed claimant who returns home. The money is for use to help the claimant find a job, set up a business or to go back to school at home.
Some "68.5 full-time employees" will be required to "remove 1,600 failed refugee claimants during 2012-2013 at a planned cost of $4,500 per removal" according to the document obtained through an Access of Information request from the immigration department.
The document said 16 full-time employees are required to go after 400 failed Quebec claimants.
"Failed claimants are a priority for this government," said lawyer Richard Kurland who obtained the document. "The claimants who hang around Canada for years are all going home."
The removals are being applauded by immigration lawyers because it decreases waiting time for others.
"It is a good move because if they are here illegally the government have to remove them," Kurland said.
The federal government this year began offering to pay some failed claimants up to $2,000 to leave the country and will pick up the tab for their plane ticket to speed up their departures.
The pilot project is run by the CBSA and the International Organization for Migration, who has been operating similar projects worldwide for more than 30 years.
About 128 failed refugee claimants have taken the cash and trip home since the program was launched last June.