On March 2, 2017 Daily Xtra reported: Canada’s federal immigration department has acknowledged it resettled fewer LGBT Iranians from Turkey, in order to make space for the late-2015 Syrian airlift.
The comments, made by a senior official at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, came on Feb 21, 2017, two weeks after an Xtra investigation found that Canada started referring LGBT Iranians to the United States for resettlement. Under the previous Harper government, Conservatives gained international praise for the program that brought hundreds of LGBT asylum seekers from Turkey.
“We never stopped taking LGBTQ Iranians. We had a large flow of referrals that involved Iranians. As we increased the number of referrals for Syrians, we decreased the number of referrals from Iranians,” says David Manicom, the associate assistant deputy minister for strategic and program policy.
“Referrals continue at lower volumes, and may start again in the future,” Manicom says..
While federal officials say they don’t receive data on how many refugees identify as gender and sexual minorities, the immigration department’s internal figures show an 85 percent drop in all Iranians resettled to Canada through the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR).