Canada’s open bor­ders and sanc­tu­ary cities defy com­mon sense

Calgary Sun - - COMMENT - — Joe Oliver is the for­mer min­is­ter of fi­nance.

Do­ing what we be­lieve is right can make us feel mo­rally su­pe­rior. For ex­am­ple, Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau virtues­ig­nalled the surge in un­doc­u­mented refugees cross­ing our bor­der from the U.S. since Pres­i­dent Trump an­nounced his tough stand on ‘il­le­gal aliens.’

How­ever, the num­bers could ex­plode, since over 400,000 Amer­i­can res­i­dents may soon lose their Tem­po­rary Pro­tected Sta­tus and mil­lions are with­out any le­gal pro­tec­tion. So some­times, feel-good poli­cies defy com­mon sense.

Are we re­ally do­ing the right thing to re­ward peo­ple who flaunt the rules and jump the queue ahead of law-abid­ing ap­pli­cants wait­ing for years to en­ter Canada? Is it fair, hav­ing lured them here, to send some of them back, af­ter much de­lay and ex­pense? Can our re­sources cope with the po­ten­tial in­flux? Is it in our na­tional in­ter­est to cre­ate an open-ended se­cu­rity risk?

These ques­tions raise the is­sue of sanc­tu­ary cities. Mu­nic­i­pal coun­cils voted to al­low mi­grants en­ter­ing Canada il­le­gally to re­ceive hous­ing, food bank, li­brary and other ser­vices, with no ques­tions to cooperate with law en­force­ment of­fi­cers. Com­pas­sion for refugees who gamed the sys­tem in pref­er­ence to those played by the rules is hardly a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion.

ISIS boasts it in­fil­trated refugee pop­u­la­tions in Europe. So there is a se­cu­rity risk when peo­ple ar­rive here with­out doc­u­men­ta­tion. More­over, if they later re­turn to the U.S. and com­mit ter­ror­ist at­tacks, the Amer­i­cans would nat­u­rally re­act by pro­tect­ing the bor­der, slow­ing down $2 bil­lion a day in trade.

Let me dis­pose of two false com­par­isons. First, the un­der­ground rail­way. Cana­dian law was not vi­o­lated when we did the pro­foundly moral thing and wel­comed es­caped slaves from the U.S. to what they re­ferred to as “the Promised Land.” Sec­ond, our shame­ful ‘none is too many’ anti-Jewish im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy prior to the Sec­ond World War con­demned failed asy­lum seek­ers to Nazi terror and death, with no sanc­tu­ary.

Help­ing those who fear de­por­ta­tion to op­pres­sive regimes re­flects the best of Cana­dian val­ues. But peo­ple ar­riv­ing by taxi or push­ing shop­ping carts across the bor­der are more likely seek­ing eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity rather than flee­ing per­se­cu­tion. The tragic plight of the Yazidis is far more dire than refugees cross­ing the Canada/U.S. bor­der.

Canada will take in 300,000 im­mi­grants this year, over 0.8% of our pop­u­la­tion, one of the most gen­er­ous rates in the world. There is gen­eral sup­port for our im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy, although the at­ti­tude to­ward refugees is some­what mixed.

In a poll con­ducted 5 months ago a slim ma­jor­ity favoured cur­rent num­bers, but 41% be­lieved they were too high. With a global pop­u­la­tion of 7.5 bil­lion, hun­dreds of mil­lions would ea­gerly im­mi­grate to Canada for a bet­ter life, if given a chance. Ob­vi­ously, we can­not open our bor­ders to ev­ery­one.

By all means let’s wel­come im­mi­grants and refugees. How­ever, if the gov­ern­ment lets peo­ple to stream across our bor­der un­law­fully, it risks erod­ing pub­lic sup­port for a hu­man­i­tar­ian refugee pol­icy. It would then only have it­self to blame.

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