"Even Liberal Canada Has Its Limits" as Refugees Threaten to Break Economy
President Donald Trump made it perfectly clear from the very start that his administration would take a hard stance against illegal immigration, and that is a promise he has most certainly kept thus far.
As a result of the Trump administration’s crackdown on illegal immigration, many immigrants illegally in the U.S. have made a trek northward to seek refuge in Canada, as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rhetorically rolled out the red carpet for them.
According to Vice News in December of 2017, the numbers of illegal immigrants fleeing the U.S. for Canada have overwhelmed the Canadian immigration system and are placing strain upon the country’s economy.
Vice reported that between January and October of 2017, more than 18,600 illegal entrants into Canada were caught by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, an incredible increase over the 2,500 illegal entrants apprehended in 2016.
But Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board has been utterly incapable of processing these new arrivals in a timely fashion as it is severely understaffed, reportedly suffering from vacancies in nearly a third of its positions.
For example, of the 15,522 asylum claims the board had received by the end of November, only 2,198 had actually been processed, and only about 54 percent of those were granted the asylum they sought.
But according to a recent Forbes article, that doesn’t necessarily mean that those turned down for refugee status have been deported, as Canada has a lengthy appeals process and many illegal immigrants have taken advantage of a provision known as the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S.
That agreement states that asylum seekers must make their claim in the first country they arrive in — but it only applies at official border crossing points, meaning illegal entrants will be permitted to stay in country while their claim is processed instead of being sent back to where they came from, in this case the U.S.
Meanwhile, those entered into the IRB system could see a wait of as long as 11 years until their case is concluded, with each claimant costing various levels of the Canadian government roughly $15,000-$20,000 in the duration.
Now, in light of the fact that Trump’s administration recently announced that it would be canceling the temporary protected status of about 200,000 Salvadorans, Canadians are bracing for another wave of illegal immigrants seeking refuge within their borders.
But according to The New York Times, which shared the saga of a Haitian immigrant named Marlise Beauville who made her way to Montreal via Long Island, New York, some Canadian officials are working to pull back the welcome mat laid out by Trudeau. As The Times puts it, “even liberal Canada has its limits” on how many migrants it can accept before further overwhelming the system and fueling a growing backlash.
Ahmed Hussen, a former refugee from Sudan who has become Canada’s minister of immigration, recently made it clear that though Canada was a welcoming society, it can’t welcome everybody who wants to come there.
“We don’t want people to illegally enter our border, and doing so is not a free ticket to Canada,” stated Hussen in a recent interview with The Times. “We are saying, ‘You will be apprehended, screened, detained, fingerprinted, and if you can’t establish a genuine claim, you will be denied refugee protection and removed.’”
On top of that, other Canadian officials have been traveling to various cities in the U.S. that have large migrant populations to try and dissuade them from thinking they will be accepted into Canada without question if they enter illegally, making clear that they will not be able to simply “walk in and stay forever.”
“There is a disconnect between Trudeau’s hashtag ‘Welcome to Canada’ and the reality that the system is overwhelmed,” explained Conservative Party member Michelle Rempel, a “shadow minister” for immigration. “It can lead to a nationalist blowback like we have seen in Europe.”
Whether these efforts to caution immigrants against illegally entering Canada will have much effect are unclear at this time, and due to the incredible backlog in processing the claims of those who have already entered illegally — not to mention an expected surge in coming months — the country could be dealing with this issue for quite some time, unless it makes real and substantial changes to its system and laws.
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