Was it necessary or prudent for Montreal to declare itself a sanctuary city this week? Does the motion by city council present more problems than solutions for non-status immigrants?
Montreal joins other Canadian cities that permit undocumented refugees full access to local services regardless of their situation. It follows the lead of Toronto, Hamilton, London and others.
The trend has reached Atlantic Canada. This week, Fredericton Mayor Mike O’Brien says he is considering declaring the New Brunswick capital a sanctuary city. New Brunswickers seem prepared to welcome those breaking the law with open arms. A word of caution.
In our rush to help, are we unwittingly jeopardizing the security of immigrants, slowing their path to citizenship, allowing criminal elements to remain in the country and adding substantial costs onto Canadian taxpayers? The answer to these questions is yes.
Our compassion for the downtrodden is encouraging a trickle at our borders to become a stream. It could become a flood. It will stretch our resources when we don’t have a plan to properly deal with refugees we have now.
Refugees are heading north, seeking asylum because they fear wholesale roundup and deportation if they remain in the U.S. following President Donald Trump’s crackdown.
It’s almost impossible to shut the door on such human misery.
Since November 2015, Canada welcomed more than 25,000 Syrian refugees – an emergency situation for a group fleeing civil war and bloodshed. Few Canadians realize that over the past decade, this country has opened its doors to more than 250,000 immigrants and refugees a year. Obviously not all are fleeing for their lives. Many immigrants are here because they have a job and a place to live.
Refugees are here because they are desperate – fleeing persecution due to war, religion or political opinion. Many are here illegally; Montreal has 50,000 undocumented immigrants now.
The city’s sanctuary motion might actually backfire. The federal government is sensitive and accommodating to the plight of immigrants and refugees, and most provinces feel the same way. Let’s co-operate instead of throwing up roadblocks.
Sanctuary cities get in the way of government supports. They delay getting legitimate refugees on the path to citizenship. It’s another layer of bureaucracy that refugees don’t need.
Illegal immigrants are becoming a daily issue at Manitoba and Quebec border checkpoints. Media coverage of refugees walking through snowstorms to reach Canada hammers home the message we have a growing problem.
We should provide succor to the oppressed but creating false sanctuaries only slows down the process to citizenship. Sanctuary motions don’t help; they delay.
Canada has a wonderful brand around the world for inclusion. Let’s build on it; don’t make mistakes that might blow up and cause us harm in the future.
What we don’t need are motions that delay dealing with refugees in an orderly, legal fashion.
And what we really don’t need are motions that assist criminals trying to enter or remain in this country.