We hear plenty on the news about Illegal Immigration in the United States. It’s often referenced in comedy sketches, TV shows and Trump just doesn’t like to shut up about it (“I will build a great wall.”). Something we don’t hear as often is Illegal Immigration in Canada. This has become an increasing issue in the province of Quebec since Donald Trump took office in the United States and it could get worse.
Illegal Immigration Rising
Since January of 2017, there have been more than one thousand reported unauthorized border crossings between New York and Quebec. Most of these refugees are fleeing The United States of America to avoid deportation or other factors related to Trump’s new immigration laws.
In fact, many of these immigrants coming from the United States are Haitians who fled to the United States following the terrible earthquake that shook their nation in 2010. These people have obtained special documentation to allow them to reside within the United States but are fleeing northward to Canada in fear of Trump’s new immigration policies.
Contrary to popular belief, Canada does not have an open-door-policy when it comes to immigration. We careful process and vet all migrants seeking to plant their roots in Canada and have a strict immigration regime. Unfortunately, these policies and procedures can be taken advantage of, and we let thousands of illegal immigrants making their way onto Canadian soil.
Risks Factors of Illegal Immigration
This trek across the border can be both risky and unpromising. Especially in winter months or bad weather, the journey across the border could be dangerous. Even after enduring the trip through, there is no promise or guarantee that asylum seekers will be granted entry into the country, in fact, many illegal immigrants venturing into Canada have been turned away if caught before entering Canadian soil. As of early August 2017, it is estimated that 500 people were illegally entering into Canada per day. Many of these cases are taking one to two months even to begin the initial vetting stages. In the meantime, migrants are being housed in Montreal to hear their verdict. Major concerns with this timeline are that unvetted migrants, whom could potentially be dangerous, are living freely in Montreal.
So why do people cross illegally? According to the Canada-US Safe Third Party Agreement, the United States is considered a “safe country” to claim asylum in and therefore anyone from The United States will most likely be denied refugee status in Canada. Here’s where it gets interesting – if someone who is already on Canadian soil requests refugee status, their case will most likely be considered and therefore offers migrants a chance to settle into their new Canadian home.
Taking A Toll On Canadian Resources
The CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) has been overwhelmed with their need for deploying resources to these illegal border crossing sites. Not only are they depleting their resources and workforce to deal with this matter, but it costs Canada some serious cash as well (an estimated $2.9 Billion). Due to this influx of asylum seekers in Canada, cases are not being processed as quickly and have therefore caused a backlog.
Now, these newcomers are being housed in Montreal until their cases can be handled — this is again costing money and using up resources for food, supplies, and staff to run these facilities. More staff will be required to process these requests and ensure prompt processing times, which again will mean more time and money spent towards this situation.
Light At The End Of The Tunnel?
We will not likely see any change or progress anytime soon if policies are not amended. People will still attempt (and succeed) to cross into Canada illegally to claim asylum and hope to call Canada their new home. However, in the meantime, people could potentially be harmed during the crossings as well as cause Canada to spend like crazy to ensure these refugees are housed, fed and processed through the system.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with accepting newcomers to Canada, especially if they hold a valid reason to seek refuge here. However, there are legal processes to follow, and failure to do so can be costly, both regarding money and resources. Canada should surely accept those seeking a new and safe home, though the process in which this is handled needs to be corrected to save time, money and resources.
What are your thoughts on how illegal immigration is handled in Canada?