The Federal Government Should Have Learned From Its Refugee Claimant Amnesties That It Will Be Disastrous To Reward Illegal Immigrants With An Amnesty

October 19, 2005: The Federal Government Should Have Learned From Its Refugee Claimant Amnesties That It Will Be Disastrous To Reward Illegal Immigrants With An Amnesty


Immigration Minister Volpe has recently proposed “regularizing” illegal immigrants in Canada. Some Canadians will know that the word “regularizing” really means “amnesty”. Before Volpe seriously considers an amnesty of people staying in Canada illegally, however, he would be strongly advised to remember the disastrous lesson of “regularizing” refugee claimants of the 1980's says Immigration Watch Canada.

The dramatic lesson was that amnesties were interpreted as a green light by hundreds of thousands of prospective fraudulent refugee claimants. These people began arriving on Canada's doorstep shortly after the amnesties and abused Canada's lax refugee claimant process.

Later, they made use of Canada's overly-generous family class sponsorship provisions to bring in hundreds of thousands of extended family members, many of whom have relied heavily on social assistance.

The total number of people who have been able to settle in Canada as a direct or indirect result of ill-conceived amnesties is well over 1 million. Directly or indirectly, the refugee claimant category has been responsible for one of the largest and least successful groups of immigrants who have come to Canada over the past 15 years.

Previous immigration ministers should have learned that such wide-scale cheating of Canada's refugee claimant process was not a good omen for beginning a new life here. In other words, they should have learned that people who abused the refugee system were likely to abuse other systems—–something they have done in spades with the family class.

Volpe should recognize that just as “regularizing” the status of refugee claimants with dubious claims was not a good idea, rewarding illegal immigrants will only make a bad situation worse. The free ride that illegals have enjoyed up to now has to end.

Mr. Volpe's proposal to “regularize” illegals should be trashed—as should his proposal to increase Canada's annual immigration intake by 40%. Both proposals will curry the favour of Canada's immigration industry. Both will also delight the corrupt interests of a number of urban MP's. But both are not in the interest of Canada and do not deserve to be treated seriously.

Long before this, Mr. Volpe and his predecessors should have come up with a tracking system for people overstaying visas and for non-visa holders staying here illegally. He should be embarrassed to admit to Canadians that he has no idea how many people are in Canada illegally. He should be equally embarrassed to have to say that he has no idea what effect these illegals are having on Canada.

Members of the House of Commons immigration committee should be ashamed to trivialize the illegal immigant issue by saying illegal immigrants are probably involved in employment that other Canadians do not want to do.

Mr. Volpe would also be wise to look at the illegal immigrant situation in the U.S. He would be wise to conclude that the cowardice and ineptitude of American elected officials in dealing with illegals should not be duplicated in Canada. It is a major national embarrassment for the U.S. that millions of people have been allowed to walk over the U.S.-Mexico border with virtual impunity.

Similarly, it is a major national embarrassment for Canada that its world's highest immigrant intake per capita has never been justified. If Canada adds illegals to this intake, the embarrassment will be even greater.

U.S. apologists for illegals like to claim that illegal immigrants have had an economically-neutral or even positive effect. But, to cite just a few negative effects, it has been found that iilegal immigrants have displaced American poor from their jobs and placed enormous burdens on health care and schools. The sheer numbers of illegals have also transformed the culture of many U.S. states and made the goal of curbing U.S. population numbers and stabilizing/reducing its environmental impact virtually impossible to achieve.

Mr. Volpe should examine the efforts of U.S. experts who are trying to estimate the number of illegals and have come up with methods to arrive at the total number. A Barron's article earlier this year listed a number of ways of determining the number of illegals:

(1) Analyzing data on remittances sent to other countries from the U.S.
(2) Doing sample census work in certain areas to identify illegals
(3) Targetting a sample of employers to assess the number of illegals
(4) Using data on currency flows and electricity consumption

Like his U.S. counterparts, Mr. Volpe should also be looking at ways to stop the inflow of illegals. U.S. reformers have long emphasized that heavy fines on employers who hire illegals will discourage them from re-hiring illegals. The heavy fines would also discourage other employers from employing illegals. Finally, it would send a strong message to illegals that jobs for them do not exist. This would help to dramatically reduce the inflow.

Similarly, Mr. Volpe and his predecessors have to understand that foreign nationals do not have a right to enter Canada or remain here illegally and that staying here to work is not a trivial matter. If people have done this, they have violated Canadian law and are subject to punishment. They should not be rewarded—–as Mr. Volpe proposes to do——for their abuses of Canadian generosity.


NOTE: The following is a summary of the Barron's article which describes the extent of the underground economy in the U.S. A copy of the entire article is available on the Immigration Watch Canada web site under “News Articles” (American).

Going Underground–Barron's
Jim McTague

(1) It is estimated that the U.S. Underground Economy is near $1 trillion, about 9% of the total U.S. economy of $11 trillion.

(2) The underground economy is largely driven by illegal immigrants estimated to number around 18 to 20 million.

(3) The underground economy has been growing by 5.6% every year since 1990. This is higher than the growth of the regular economy.

(4) The underground economy is undermining the effectiveness of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. If the latter could collect taxes owed by the underground economy in any year, the deficit would disappear. If it could collect every year, the U.S. would have huge budget surpluses.

(5) The IRS has had an 85% tax compliance rate, but this is declining
because of corporate downsizing; difficulty business people have in understanding the quarterly system of payments;and a rise in the acceptance of tax dishonesty (11% in 1999 to 17% in 2003).

(6) Academic experts accept the work of Austrian Friedrich Schneider who estimated in 1996 the underground economy in the U.S. to be 8.8% of the U.S. GDP. (Large inflows of illegals since then have undoubtedly increased this number.)

(7) Schneider's Independent Institute identified the countries with the three largest underground economies:
A. Greece——29% of its GDP
B. Italy———–27.8% of its GDP
C. Spain———23.4% of its GDP

(8) Robert Justich, Senior Managing Director at Bear Stearns Asset Management in New York, working with Betty Ng, an emerging markets economist, has found evidence of a larger illegal immigrant population by analyzing data on construction and on remittances sent from the U.S. to Mexico and other countries. Housing permits in areas of New Jersey were several times higher than census population increases. Most of the permits were for multiple family dwellings.

(9) An amnesty of illegal immigrants could trigger a huge demand for social services like that created in Germany when West and East Germany re-united. The Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C. estimated a net additional cost to the U.S. economy of $10 Billion for an amnesty if carried out in 2002. This is based on a population of 10 million illegals. There could be twice that many illegals in the U.S. now. The unanticipated costs could be enormous.

(10) Bill Leonard, a member of California's Board of Equalization, who was involved in re-districting his state's congressional districts in 2001, discovered that some areas ended up having 5 times as many unregistered voters than census data had recorded. Most of the extra people were non-citizens.

(11) Renewal of a federal crackdown on employers who hired illegal immigrants would also help to reveal the size of the illegal immigrant population and discourage the growth of that population. Once word has spread that former jobs for illegals do not exist, illegals would be discouraged from coming.

It is obvious that one part of the economy is subsidizing, through its taxes, the benefits enjoyed by those who pay nothing.