Bor­der refugee cri­sis all about im­port­ing new vot­ing blocs

National Post (Latest Edition) - - IDEAS - Julie taub and david b. Har­ris Im­mi­gra­tion lawyer Julie Taub is a for­mer mem­ber of the Im­mi­gra­tion and Refugee Board. David B. Har­ris is a lawyer and direc­tor of the in­tel­li­gence pro­gram, INSIGNIS Strate­gic Re­search Inc.

As the Na­tional Post re­cently re­ported, 20,000 peo­ple have il­le­gally pen­e­trated Canada’s bor­der since early 2017, the vast ma­jor­ity into Que­bec, where 400 are ex­pected each day over the course of the warm-weather months. “For the first time, there are more peo­ple il­le­gally seek­ing asy­lum in Canada than mak­ing le­gal refugee claims,” said the Post, and the trend will con­tinue. This helped dou­ble over-all refugee-claimant num­bers from 18,644 a lit­tle over a year ago to 48,974 last month.

Ot­tawa claims to be ex­ert­ing it­self to staunch the costly flow. But in­stead of be­ing de­ported, il­le­gal en­trants gen­er­ally seem to be wel­comed by Ot­tawa — wit­ness prime min­is­te­rial tweets and gov­ern­ment in­ti­ma­tions about bring­ing in even more refugee claimants.

To un­der­stand why this and other such dis­tor­tions are al­lowed to hap­pen is to com­pre­hend the sham­bles of Canada’s im­mi­gra­tion sys­tem and the pos­si­ble cor­rup­tion un­der­ly­ing that sys­tem.

Start with the case of the il­le­gal mi­grants en­ter­ing from the U.S., and how they cost tax­pay­ers big. Each asy­lum seeker costs Cana­di­ans be­tween $15,000 to $20,000. Al­though they are not le­gally con­sid­ered gen­uine refugees un­til so des­ig­nated af­ter a for­mal hear­ing process, seek­ers get a so­cial as­sis­tance pack­age sim­i­lar to Cana­dian ci­ti­zens’ own en­ti­tle­ments. In var­i­ous forms, ben­e­fits in­clude med­i­cal care, chil­dren’s den­tal and eye care, pre­scrip­tion-drug care, and hous­ing — and le­gal aid sup­port. The 20,000 re­cent il­le­gal-crossers will cost Cana­di­ans be­tween $300-400 mil­lion. Add to that, tax-funded im­mi­gra­tion re­views and ap­peals, and pos­si­bly years of so­cial­wel­fare sup­port dur­ing the process.

As a re­sult of this in­flux, some le­gal en­trants’ hear­ings have been can­celled to make way for il­le­gal ar­rivals’ claims. At the same time, Ot­tawa fast-tracks work per­mits and health care for many thou­sands of refugee claimants, in­clud­ing the 20,000 il­le­gal en­trants. This, in ef­fect, re­wards il­le­gal mi­gra­tion.

What ex­plains the ir­ra­tional de­ci­sion-mak­ing, which, ac­cord­ing to Canada Bor­der Ser­vices Agency Union leader Jean-Pierre Fortin, has left Canada with a “Swiss cheese” bor­der? Why wouldn’t a debt- and un­em­ploy­ment-bur­dened gov­ern­ment block the flow from the U.S. by cre­at­ing tem­po­rary Canada Bor­der Ser­vices Agency (CBSA) of­fices at known il­le­gal bor­der en­try points? Or, as Fortin has urged, set up a 300-mem­ber team to plug bor­der gaps? The CBSA is crit­i­cally un­der­funded, and un­der­staffed with out­dated tech­nol­ogy, and can­not even per­form its reg­u­lar du­ties, let alone this un­prece­dented cri­sis breach of our bor­ders.

Ot­tawa’s “so­lu­tion”? Send RCMP of­fi­cers with­out spe­cific im­mi­gra­tion ju­ris­dic­tion to the bor­der, to be­come, in ef­fect, a “glo­ri­fied taxi ser­vice” — as one of­fi­cial pri­vately put it — to in­land CBSA of­fices, to make asy­lum claims. Tax­pay­ers’ money ap­pears unlimited for il­le­gal mi­gra­tion, but sparse for CBSA.

Why is Canada pur­su­ing this kind of pol­icy? Sad to say, the ev­i­dence speaks for it­self. Un­less we posit un­prece­dented lev­els of gov­ern­ment chaos, we are forced to a harsh con­clu­sion.

Aided and abet­ted by sim­i­larly in­clined mu­nic­i­pal and pro­vin­cial politi­cians, of­fi­cial Ot­tawa’s avert­ing of its gaze from bor­der breach­ing, is only one facet of a much larger po­lit­i­cal im­pulse. The im­pulse? To im­port, through le­gal and per­haps il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion and refugee in­takes, large num­bers of fu­ture, grate­ful prospec­tive vot­ing blocs, con­trary to Cana­di­ans’ na­tional in­ter­est.

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