GUNTER: Liberals play a dangerous game with illegal immigration

Representative of SunMedia commentary, with the canard that Trudeau’s ill-advised old tweet is wholly responsible for the influx, not the Trump policies themselves (and government tweets since then have taken a different turn).

While there is and can be legitimate criticism of the government’s handling of the asylum seekers, no solutions are as easy as claimed. When the Sun Sea arrived in Canadian waters, former Minister Kenney played up the threat to Canada’s system of managed immigration, but most were accepted as asylum seekers.

That being said, given that it does strike many Canadians as queue jumping and the like. The opposition naturally makes this an issue (more care in language and tone needed, however).

Should the apparent recent declining trend in asylum seekers continue (too early to say), that may defuse some of the tension:

Canadians’ tolerance for illegal immigrants is about to be tested as never before.

Around 60 per cent of Canadians in most polls claim to be open to illegal immigration if the refugees now pouring into Quebec are truly oppressed. Indeed, it is this support the Trudeau government seems to be counting on as cover for its refusal to do anything about the 3,000 or more illegal immigrants – many from Haiti, Nigeria and Central America – currently crossing the Quebec border every month.

The federal Liberals think this deluge is a sign of Canada’s magnanimity and multiculturalism. They also think it will win them votes if the refugees are portrayed as asylum seekers from Donald Trump’s mean-spirited America.

While Donald Trump is separating refugee parents and children at the U.S.-Mexico border, our hipster PM is signalling a warm welcome to anyone who can arrive at our doorstep.

Our prime minister is tweeting out words of encouragement to illegal immigrants and his government is doing everything it can to resettle asylum seekers quickly, so they slip into Canadian society unnoticed until well after it’s too late to remove them.

But the Liberals are playing a dangerous game, not just politically, but also with the rule of law.

Canadians probably are more tolerant of illegal immigrants than are Americans. But then again, we haven’t had the volume of illegals they have had to contend with.

For nearly 30 years, the estimate of the number of undocumented “aliens” in the States has hovered around 11 million. But given that no one knows with certainty how many come in every year (only how many are thrown out), it is entirely possible the total is closer to 17 million to 20 million.

That would be the equivalent of between 1.7 million and 2.0 million in Canada. But the federal immigration and border agencies estimate there are only about 100,000 illegal immigrants north of the border – or only about five per cent of the number in the U.S.

It’s pretty easy to be morally superior when facing a crisis that is only one-20th the size of your neighbour’s.

However, the RCMP estimate that last year nearly 21,000 people crossed our border illegally seeking asylum. Most had come from the United States, so technically could not be deemed refugees. (If you arrive in Canada from a country that is not threatening your life or your freedom, you cannot be considered a refugee, legally.)

So far this year, at least another 8,000 have walked across our border in Quebec pulling their worldly possessions in suitcases, duffels and cardboard boxes.

The temporary welcome camp Ottawa set up in Quebec can only house fewer than 1,000 asylum seekers at a time.

Ottawa has, therefore, tried to bribe the other provinces with grants to help temporarily settle the rest in college dorms, social housing, emergency shelters, even hotels. But money and patience are running out.

And other provinces and cities are getting wise.

Ontario’s new premier, Doug Ford, recently told Prime Minister Trudeau his province would no longer help settle asylum seekers, to which the PM responded with a smug, sanctimonious lecture on Canada’s refugee obligations.

But like a lot of what Trudeau believes, his lecture was long on virtue-signalling and short on substance.

Canada is not, as Trudeau claimed, required to provide everyone who shows up here with protections equal to those afforded citizens. We must safeguard their lives and freedom, but only if they have arrived from an unsafe country.

(You can get cute, if you want, and insist Trump has made American unsafe, but that’s not true under international refugee treaties.)

The truth is, the Trudeau government has mismanaged the current refugee flow. Badly. And they are going to strain Canadians’ generosity with the torrent they have unleashed.

Source: GUNTER: Liberals play a dangerous game with illegal immigration

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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