Why Mexicans and Haitians, Working Illegally In The U.S., Are Stampeding To Canada And What To Do About It Now, Not Manana


The arrival of hundreds of Mexican and Haitian refugee claimants at Canada's borders in the past few days should energize our federal government to finally do something about the ongoing and needless refugee-claimant quagmire.

According to The National Post, unscrupulous immigration consultants have told the claimants, most of whom are illegal workers in the U.S., that Canada has an open-door policy and an “economic refugee” programme. Some claimants have paid fees to consultants for this information and then come north. Others have come on their own after hearing rumours.

Meanwhile, social services agencies in Windsor, one of the border destinations, have said they cannot keep up with the demand for social services. Windsor's Salvation Army reports that they have found room for 50 families, some with up to 9 children, at 4 city hotels and accommodated 30 single men at one of their own shelters. The Salvation Army sends the hotel bills for food and shelter to the City's Social Services Department. Windsor's mayor has said that the city cannot afford to pay the bills. According to Statistics Canada, Windsor's official unemployment rate was 10.4% in August, 2007, several points higher than the national average and a clear indication that if anyone needed charity, it was the unemployed in Windsor.

Canadians should clearly support Windsor's mayor and councillors (whom, we hope, did not support the refugee industry in the past). Windsor Council and the councils in all other municipalities should use the latest abuse to pressure the federal governmet to clean up the immigration/refugee mess once and for all. Municipal governments all across Canada cannot continue to leave immigration/refugee issues to the federal government. They should have realized by now that most federal governments over the past 25 years have acted only as if new people are potential votes and as if governments had an obligation to pander to these people—in spite of the enormous cost of immigration/refugee matters to Canada.

Here are some crucial points:

(1) Although Canadians are once again hearing the standard argument that Canada should accept these Mexicans and Haitians for charitable reasons, a number of Canada's prominent refugee advocates are uncharacteristically saying that these claimants are obviously fraudulent and that the federal government should step in and stop the nonsense. The blunt truth is that it is unusual to hear something in the national interest from these people. Congratulations are in order. While they are in a penitent mood, these people might like to admit that they helped to sabotage Canadian efforts to make a Safe Country of Origin list. Such a list would have disallowed people from many safe countries from making asylum claims. Because that was never done, thousands of refugee claims have been made by Americans, Mexicans, Israelis, Europeans, and others who live in countries that do not persecute their citizens for political beliefs.

The ensuing legal tangle that refugee advocates created years ago has cost Canada billions of dollars every year for many years. It has also resulted in tens of thousands of cheaters getting the right to stay in Canada. To add to the problem, it is widely known that in the past, immigration/refugee advocates have compounded the problem by fabricating stories for the claimants and coaching them on what to do when Canadian immigration officers interview them. It will take a long time for these people to absolve themselves of their sins.

(2) Recently, the federal government has also not covered itself in glory on the immigration and refugee issue. Over the past 40 days, it has shown that it has many reasons to seek absolution from Canadians and to take some serious corrective action. For example, in the Laibar Singh case of early August, it was reported that Stockwell Day (MInister responsible for the Canadian Border Services Agency, that is, deportations) had bowed to Sikh intimidation.

According to reports, Sikhs threatened that they would stage cross-country demonstrations if Mr. Day did not allow refugee claimant Laibar Singh to stay. In response, Mr. Day gave Singh a 60-day deportation day reprieve—signalling that he could not push back and that maybe he should call in Immigration Minister Diane Finley for some muscle. High on the list of what Mr. Day must do soon is to demonstrate to Canadians that he will not let Canada's refugee policy be determined by political bullying and thuggery. He can do that by deporting Laibar Singh when the man's 60-day reprieve expires.

(3) On the most recent immigration/refugee issue, that of the Mexicans and Haitians, our federal government has to recognize that the key reason for the arrival of the Mexicans and Haitians is that Canada does not have a list of Safe Countries for the refugee determination process. The general purpose of a Safe Country list would be to prevent asylum seekers who are already in safe countries from asylum shopping in other countries and/or stopping others in such countries from making frivolous refugee claims in Canada.

The U.N. Convention on Refugees implies that potential refugee claimants should make their claim in the first safe country they go to. In the case of Mexicans and Haitians who have lived and worked illegally in the U.S., it means that they must make their claims in the U.S., not in Canada. The agreement should have allowed Canada to deport to the U.S. Mexicans who tried to make such a claim. The problem is that, in negotiations a few years ago, Canada made the serious mistake of granting an exception (in making refugee claims) to Mexicans who have relatives in Canada. What is happening now at our Canada-U.S. border is that Mexicans are entering under visa-free conditions available to them and simultaneously or later making refugee claims by saying they have relatives in Canada. Because of this exception, in particular, in Canada's agreement with the U.S., Canada cannot deport them to the U.S. As a result, their refugee claims have entered the Canadian processing system.

To stop this practice, Canada has several options. The basic, most sensible solution is for Canada to make its own list of safe countries from which it will not accept refugee applications. Our federal government would have to change existing legislation and give cabinet the right to make this safe country list. This would be the broadest and most effective stroke Ottawa could use to solve this major problem. Obviously, all parties would have to put aside their petty differences and co-operate. The spectre of millions of Mexican illegals, now living in the U.S., arriving at the Canadian border should be sufficient to shake all MP's into enacting this change now, not manana.

In the interim, in Mexico's case, Ottawa could end (with some embarrassment) the visa-free status Mexican citizens now enjoy in coming to Canada. Another narrow option would be to press the U.S. government to remove the three exceptions that are now in place in the Canada-U.S Safe Country Agreement which now prevent Canada from deporting back to the U.S. these Mexicans, Haitians and others. The other two exceptions which the U.S. insisted on were for

(a) minors—– who were obviously being sent to Canada to later sponsor their parents. Minors cannot be deported back to the U.S. ;

(b) inland claims (at non-border centres) ——made by people flying from the U.S. to Canada. As a result of this exception, Canada cannot summarily deport foreign asylum-seekers who have travelled to Canada by air from the U.S. because our airports are located inland rather than at the land border.

Under the current system, the Mexicans (who have already made refugee claims) will be in Canada for probably at least another year or more at the expense of Canadians. Even if they are ordered to be deported, they can apply to stay under Canada's “Humanitarian” category and be allowed to remain.

(4) According to Citizenship and Imigration Canada, Canada's acceptance rate for refugee claimants is around 50%. When we add (a) rejected claimants and claimants who abandon their claims, both later disappearing into Canada's illegal immigrant woodwork and (b) rejected claimants who apply to stay on Humanitarian grounds, the acceptance/non-deported rate may be close to 70%. In contrast, the major immigrant-receiving countries have an average acceptance rate of around 16%. Other countries do have problems removing rejected applicants which would raise that figure. However, the huge difference in the rates should prompt Canadians to ask the following question: Does Canada have a high acceptance/non-deported rate because Canada's system is smarter than that in other countries or is it because our immigration industry has rendered Canada's system impotent? Is it also because Canada's system is easily duped and intimidated by minority ethnic groups and immigration industry advocates? The answer is obvious.

(5) Some Canadians may not be aware that beginning in 2004, Mexico has ranked as the country that has sent us the highest number of adult refugee claimants (18 years and older). The number of Mexican claimants rose steadily from the year 1996 to 2005. For example, in 1996, 714 adult Mexicans applied for refugee staus here. In 2005, 2406 adult Mexican claimants had applied. China, Colombia, Sri Lanka and India were the next highest. Haiti was # 9. Currently, Citizenship and Immigration has a moratorium on deportations to Haiti.

According to Citizenship and Immigration, in 2005, a total of 14,137 adults (18 years +) from all countries made refugee claims in Canada. When children are added, the number is much higher. In the past, over one-third of refugee clamants have entered Canada from the U.S.

Recent figures for 2006 show that a total of 4,958 Mexicans claimed refugee status. In the first six months of 2007, 3,043 Mexicans had applied.

According to The National Post, “The number of refugee claimants from Haiti has jumped dramatically, with almost as many Haitians seeking refugee status in Canada in the first half of this year than in the previous two years combined, according to numbers from the Immigration and Refugee Board.

“There were 1,008 refugee claimants from Haiti from January to June, 2007, compared with 769 in all of 2006.

“The figures do not reflect the recent surge from both countries that seems to have started in earnest this summer.”

Let us repeat: The refugee-claimant quagmire has to be solved now, not manana.