Volume #15 - 725.|
EXIT AND ENTRY CONTROLS
SECURITY SCREENING OF IMMIGRANTS
Memorandum by Royal Canadian Mounted Police|
to Security Panel
March 29th, 1949|
SECURITY SCREENING OF IMMIGRANTS PRESENT PROBLEMS|
The present methods of screening, the results thereof and the problems arising therefrom, can best be considered under the headings of the different immigration schemes involved and the countries or areas presenting special difficulties. These are set down hereunder.
Close Relative Scheme
2. Persons who immigrate to Canada under the above scheme may be (a) D.P.'s1 or (b) persons from other countries who have been sponsored by a relative or other individual in Canada.
3. D.P.'s are screened by direct interview in Germany, Austria, Sweden, etc. and normally do not come forward until such time as a report has been received indicating that they are clear or not clear for security.
4. Security screening of persons under (b) category follows an entirely different plan popularly referred to as the 14 day plan. This procedure is that applications are received at the Immigration Offices in Canada and providing the applicant meets all requirements other than security the application is then forwarded to R.C.M.P. Headquarters for security screening of the sponsor in Canada and the proposed immigrant overseas. 14 days after the application has been forwarded to R.C.M.P. for security screening and regardless of whether a security report has been received or not, the Visa Officer in the country concerned is advised by the Immigration authorities in Ottawa that the application has been approved. In short, this gives the R.C.M.P. 14 days only in which to screen the sponsor in Canada and the proposed immigrant overseas. If no report is received within that period from the R.C.M.P., and it practically never is, the immigrant can come forward.
5. It is absolutely impossible for the R.C.M.P. to complete this screening in the prescribed time of 14 days. First the application when it is received at R.C.M.P. Headquarters must be carded and passed through registration channels before it is dispatched overseas. At the moment there is a backlog of approximately 3,000 cases. This means that the application does not leave Headquarters for overseas usually until after the 14 day period has expired.
6. There is a backlog in London of 13,365 cases and it is anticipated that it will take from a year to a year and a half for current applications under this scheme to reach final screening in London.
7. The situation in London is this. All applications forwarded to London are taken to British contacts for screening against their files. British contacts can handle approximately only 35 a day. The R.C.M.P. are dependent on their co‑operation to complete this work and are in no position to ask them to deal with more than they are prepared to accept. It therefore will be seen that regardless of the number forwarded from Canada to London they can pass through the screen at the rate of 35 per diem and no more.
8. From the above it will be seen that London can clear approximately 840 a month. The R.C.M.P. have been sending to London, as received from Immigration, a much larger volume than this. The current applications more than exceed the London quota of 35 per day and the backlog can only continue to increase without hope of being dealt with so long as the present volume of applications received from Immigration continues.
9. Furthermore, the R.C.M.P. are requested very frequently by Immigration to expedite certain cases, many of them behind the `Iron Curtain'. These expedited cases must fall in the quota of 35 a day with the consequence that older applications drop back further into the backlog.
10. It is believed that a very large percentage of the present London backlog consists of persons who are already in Canada and concerning whom no screening report will be available for months. If an unfavourable report comes forward after entry, there are apparently no legal provisions under which the persons involved can be deported as they have already been granted a permanent landing.
11. The only useful purpose therefore which this screening under the 14 day scheme serves is to provide the R.C.M.P. eventually with a record of persons who have come into Canada who may be considered subversive.
12. Under this scheme persons are brought forward to Canada in bulk for the purpose of filling labour shortages in such fields as mining, lumbering, etc. These persons are presented for screening by the I.R.O. before Immigration teams in Europe and are dealt with before Immigration teams in Europe and are dealt with on the spot by a Security Officer. There is therefore, no great problem or backlog in dealing with this scheme.
13. There are, however, certain security difficulties which should be noted. There have been cases of men who have applied to come forward with a group on, for instance, the Mine Workers' Scheme and have been turned down for security. Some of these men have immediately departed for another section of Germany and made application to join, for instance, a group of lumber workers coming forward to Canada and the I.R.O. file at the point where they made previous application does not follow them forward. On arrival at the new point of application I.R.O. make up a new file which does not disclose that the man has been previously rejected on security grounds. He is by now better prepared to face interrogation and quite frequently is passed. Similarly there have been cases of men having been rejected as D.P.'s and who, under similar circumstances have made application to come forward under a Labour Scheme and have been accepted due to there being no record of their previous screening.
14. The R.C.M.P. are endeavouring to overcome this by the circulation of a black list among all Security Officers overseas. Any man rejected is immediately circularized on this black list. Quite frequently, however, the second application takes place within a matter of days and before the names on the black list can possibly get to all Security Officers.
C.NR. and C.P.R. Schemes
15. The railways are recruiting throughout Europe labour for use on maintenance of way etc. The problem in these cases is that the applications, called Form 357, are forwarded to London Office of the R.C.M.P. by the Immigration Office there for screening through London channels. These are all marked "Preferred Attention" due to the fact that shipping space is usually available. They are, therefore, screened ahead of routine cases and here again this results in the building up of a backlog of routine cases.
Screening behind the Iron Curtain
16. The R.C.M.P. have now advised Immigration and the Department of External Affairs that attempts to screen persons who desire to come forward from `Iron Curtain' countries are proving impossible to carry out. No security information is obtainable in the country of origin; there is only the London check. This is a hitand‑miss method which may only catch one in several hundred or a thousand and would only show up well known Communists or Nazi collaborators. The R.C.M.P. therefore consider that screening of applications behind the `Iron Curtain' is now impossible. The only exception is Czechoslovakia for which there are good sources outside the country itself. These sources will eventually disappear but for the present are useful.
17. Recently, at a meeting held in the office of the Deputy Minister of Mines and Resources, the R.C.M.P. pointed out that screening of applications in the Far East, particularly Shanghai, is now almost unproductive. There are no Security Officersin the area and the Canadian Vice‑Consul who has carried out this screening through his local contacts has now advised the Department of External Affairs that outside of special cases it is now almost impossible to obtain useful information under the present chaotic conditions in China. At the same meeting it was agreed that a certain number of the refugee types who escaped from Nazi domination should be admitted without screening. Since this meeting the R.C.M.P. have been advised by associated intelligence organizations that the Russians propose to use this channel to infiltrate agents into Canada and the United States. The name of one known agent who will be applying to come forward has already been supplied to Immigration by the R.C.M.P.
18. The question has been raised regarding the screening of persons in Israel applying for entry into Canada. The R.C.M.P. feel that it is impossible to offer any effective screening of persons applying to come forward from Israel. The only security records known to be available are the former British Palestine Police records which are now maintained in Cairo. Access to such records could only be sketchy and they do not begin to cover the thousands of people who poured into Israel illegally during the trouble and who have immigrated to Israel since the British withdrawal.
19. It is pointed out that:
(a) Communist organizations abroad are doing everything possible to infiltrate Communists into this country. Other groups are doing the same for former Nazis and Nazi collaborators. There is proof that such operations have been planned and in a number of cases have been successful.
(b) If immigration is to continue at its present volume, it must be clearly understood that security risks are involved and must be accepted. Security screening will necessarily be incomplete and it cannot be assumed that an effective screen exists through which all persons coming to Canada must pass.
(c) If the present situation is considered so serious that effective security screening must be established and maintained, then the present volume of immigrants to Canada must be sharply reduced.
(d) An increase in the number of Canadian Security Officers does not meet the situation in any way for the reason that this country does not maintain an overseas intelligence or security organization and we are dependent upon the records of those friendly countries which do collect and collate such information.
1 Personnes déplacées/Displaced persons.