The First Purpose Of Canada’s Immigration Policies Should Be To Serve Canadians, Not Illegals : A Look At Some Recent Proposals To Deal With Illegal Immigration

June 22, 2005: The First Purpose Of Canada's Immigration Policies Should Be To Serve Canadians, Not Illegals : A Look At Some Recent Proposals To Deal With Illegal Immigration


Canada's Standing Committee on Immigration should take a serious look at a number of recent, sensible proposals to deal with illegal immigrants. These were formulated by the well-respected Center For Immigration Studies to deal with serious illegal immigration in the U.S. The proposals were entitled “Downsizing Illegal Immigration: A Strategy of Attrition Through Enforcement”.

Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration admits that many failed refugee claimants have gone into hiding and that visitors have overstayed their visas. It has some idea of the number of failed refugee claimants who have not been deported. But because it does not keep records on people who overstay their visas, it claims it cannot estimate the total number of illegals currently in Canada. Estimates of illegals in Canada vary widely. Some believe that a minimum of several hundred thousand people live in Canada illegally. Critics emphasize that illegals are a serious issue because these people occupy jobs that unemployed Canadians should have.

Immigration Watch Canada points out that some members of the House of Commons Standing Committee have to be reminded that Canada's immigration policies should serve the interests of Canadians. It is immoral to place non-Canadians' needs ahead of those of Canadians—especially those of Canada's unemployed. It is immoral to think that Canada's 2 million unemployed are disposable.

Immigration Watch Canada provides the following summary of the suggestions made by the Center for Immigration Studies.

The general approach of the CIS is to shrink the illegal population through consistent, across-the-board enforcement of immigration law. To do this, it is necesary to have a co-ordinated immigration policy on both illegal and legal immigration that brings all immigration numbers down to a level that does not create unfair competition for the country's own workers and does not unfairly add to problems for its own people.

A strategy of attrition would work to co-ordinate the relationship between legal and illegal immigration so that fewer new people came in, more existing illegals left, and the country had an annual decrease in the illegal population. This is a realistic, sober approach to a long-brewing problem that doesnt look for immediate, magic solutions but also doesnt just declare a surrender.

The three proposals are the following:

(1) To deter the settlement of new illegals. This would be like instituting a hiring freeze. It would involve serious border enforcement to discourage potential illegals from trying to enter the country. It would also mean taking much more control of or ending legal programmes such as chain migration and guest-worker programmes that encourage illegal immigration.

Regarding chain migration, literally millions of extended family relatives are on the current waiting list that extends into the next 20 to 25 years. A number of people on that waiting list believe they are entitled to enter the country now because they think they have met the criteria to be in the country. Although their turn hasn't come up on the list, hundreds of thousands of people from the chain migration list have come to the country early and illegally.

Regarding guest worker programmes, experience has shown that the most difficult issue with guest worker programs is getting guest workers to leave after
their work-time has expired. As one critic has said, there is nothing more permanent than temporary workers. Therefore, these programs have to end.

(2) To increase deportations as much as possible. This would be like laying people off. Deportations alone will not solve the problem of illegal immigration, but
significant deportation increases will help to send a strong message to illegals.

(3) To persuade the large number of illegals to deport themselves. This would be like offering incentives to people to leave a workforce. Illegal aliens respond to cues and to changes in enforcement. A good analogy to this issue of attrition or downsizing is the special registration program that was instituted after 9/11. Non-immigrant visitors from a number of countries- that is, people who did not have green cards but were in the U.S.– were subjected to a special registration program. They had to go into Immigration Service offices and provide information.

Of all the nations that were listed, the country that had the biggest illegal alien population in the U.S. was Pakistan. Once Pakistani illegal immigrants understood that immigration enforcement was going to be somewhat more serious and somewhat more systematic, they started leaving in droves. Thousands and thousands left on their own. They deported themselves once it was clear that the party was over.

The only way these three proposals can work, regardless of the level of resources, is if the country ends the climate of impunity for border jumping, for illegal employment, for fake documents, for lying on immigration applications. This ambiguity regarding immigration enforcement has an extraordinarily demoralizing effect on immigration enforcement personnel. The reverse-a commitment to enforcing immigration–has a remarkably exhilarating effect on immigration enforcement personnel.

The main point is that the country has to make it as difficult as possible for illegals to get through a number of government-constructed “firewalls” and equally difficult for those ilegals to live a normal life. That is the rationale for the ban on hiring illegal aliens and the ban on giving them driving licences. People have to work, so demanding proof of legal status or driving licences when people apply for a job would be two of those firewalls. The country hasnt enforced immigration law against illegals but it has the tools to do it. Its a question of a commitment to enforcing the law.