TAMIL BOAT INCIDENT SHOWS CANADIANS ThEY MUST TAKE BACK THEIR COUNTRY
1. The arrival of the Tamil boat people is a symptom of a very large and very serious problem with Canada's entire refugee and immigration system. The problem is that Canada has lost control of its borders and it is time to re-gain control. Most Canadians have sympathy for genuine refugees and will do what they can to help them. However, many Canadians find the arrival of the Tamil ship insulting because Tamil claimants appear to be telling Canada that it is weak, that they can get away with abusing this country, and that Canada can do little to stop them. Arrogant immigration lawyers, immigration advocates, ethnic groups and their propaganda arm (CBC Radio, particularly in Vancouver), confirm this by boasting that it is virtually certain that most of the 490 will be accepted as refugees and get to stay in Canada. Many Canadians are furious because they know that they will pay the salaries of the immigration lawyers who will defend all of these claimants. Many feel the same way about immigrant advocacy organizations. And many also feel the same about the CBC which has shamelessly abandoned whatever journalistic principles of neutrality might exist and appointed itself as the soapbox for immigration lawyers, advocates and ethnic groups.
It is difficult to get an accurate picture of the extent of the loss of control problem, particularly the refugee abuse one. The source of information should be Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration. But it plays with the statistics it presents to Canadians, probably because it wants to appear to be in control. For example, according to government figures, between 1999 and 2008, the average number of refugees that Canada accepted each year was about 25,000. In that number, over 13,000 were those who arrived and made claims. The remaining 12,000 were government or privately (church, etc.) sponsored refugees who were accepted in refugee camps overseas. The problem is that the government does not tell Canadians how many people like the Tamils are arriving each year and making claims. That figure was probably at least 26,000 per year between 1999 and 2008, double that of those accepted. We know that in 2009, about 30,000 people claimed refugee status here.
Canada's lack of control is clear in the Tamil incident, but not as much so in the case of the 220,000 additional immigrants that Canada takes every year. Canada's total intake is 220,000 + 30,000 = 250,000 per year. Well-qualified critics have stated that the loss of control is as great or even greater there than in our refugee system. For example, James Bissett, former Executive Director of Canada's entire immigration service from 1985 to 1990, has stated that our Department of Citizenship and Immigration does very little checking of the statements that potential immigrants make in their applications. This happens because Canada's intake is so high that it does not have adequate personnel overseas to investigate the applications, including the credentials that immigrants claim they possess. In addition, a significant number of the employees in the Canadian offices where applications are processed overseas are foreign nationals who live in cultures where corruption is rampant and who are subject to bribery from their fellow nationals. Finally, Canada's provinces are becoming increasingly involved in bringing immigrants to Canada. The federal government is not sufficiently monitoring provincial involvement.
2. Canada's ability to correct the lack of control it has over refugee claimants has been weakened from both inside and outside our borders. Inside Canada, the Singh Decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1985 has severely limited Canada's ability to act. That ruling occurred after seven failed refugee claimants had appealed to the Supreme Court on the basis of Section 7 of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Effectively, it gave refugee claimants the same rights as Canadian citizens. According to a report by former Canadian ambassador Martin Collacott, the Court stated that refugee claimants were entitled to the same fundamental justice as Canadian citizens even though they were not Canadians and may have entered Canada illegally. Specifically, the Court ruled that refugee claimants were entitled to an oral hearing in which they would be able to hear the government's case as to why they should not be granted refugee status and also have an opportunity to respond to it. In summarizing the damage done by the Singh Decision, former Deputy Minister of Immigration John Manion stated the following : The Singh Decision “destroyed any real immigration control, and made Canada the laughing stock of the world, and the destination of …footloose criminals, terrorists, and social parasites”. Some alternatives which would satisfy the Supreme Court's decision do exist (such as using the “Notwithstanding” clause in Canada's Charter or a B.C. precedent which would have a qualified immigration officer grant an interview to a claimant). However, these alternatives have not yet been tried. There is absolutely no doubt that immigration lawyers, advocates and ethnic groups have done all they can to sabotage all government efforts that would give Canada the control it needs to deal effectively with fraudulent refugee issues. The power these people wield inside Canada has to be reduced dramatically.
Both inside and outside Canada, immigration industries have attempted to expand the definition of those who can be classified as legitimate refugees. The UN's High Commissioner for Refugees has voiced sympathy for that expansion. It would help if Canada and other refugee-accepting countries had a frank talk with the High Commissioner about this matter. Regarding the UN Convention on refugees that Canada has signed, Canadians should note that the agreement is described by the UN office as only “a general legal framework on which states can build their refugee policy; obligations imposed on governments are not as constraining as often suggested.” One of the most important things the UN Agreement says is that countries which accept refugee claimants are not required to give immigrant status to those people. Instead, they can choose to give them temporary asylum and return them to their country of origin when the country in question has stabilized. This has happened before. Somehow, this has been forgotten in Canada, probably as a result of pressure from Canada's immigration industry. To say the least, the immigration industry's influence has been sinister and has been responsible for turning Canada's refugee claimant programme into an immigrant claimant programme.
Many Canadians would like to see the entire 490 Tamil boat people returned to Sri Lanka. Martin Collacott has suggested that Canada make an arrangement with a Central American country and do all of its refugee claimant processing there. That is one option to be considered. Temporary asylum status is another option to choose in dealing with many other refugee claimants. If this were used with the new Tamil boat people, Canadians would definitely want to see extreme caution exercised. “Temporary status” would have to be clearly defined and strictly enforced. It is always possible that if Canada and other countries think that the UN Convention is burdensome, they could withdraw from the UN Convention and make their own refugee policies. One argument for doing this is that the sheer numbers of those who make ridiculous claims as well as of those who might make legitimate claims will continue to overwhelm Canada and other refugee-accepting countries. In Sri Lanka alone, there are probably several million people who might attempt to make refugee claims. If discrimination against Tamils is occurring in Sri Lanka, Canada should do all it can diplomatically to stop the unfair treatment of Tamils. Canada can do much more good by joining other countries and the UN in putting pressure on the Sri Lankan government. This tactic has worked with other countries and it should be applied to Sri Lanka.
3. Canada should make it clear to Tamils that it considers that many previous Tamil refugee claimants have demonstrated minimal respect for Canada, and sometimes outright contempt. In 1985, a shipload of Tamils arrived off Newfoundland and claimed asylum. These people had actually been living in Germany, not Sri Lanka, and had left because they were shopping for a better asylum deal. In the past 20 years, the reasons that many Tamils have given for seeking refugee status in Canada have been false. Many said they were fleeing their home country because they feared for their lives. However, according to a report done by Canada's former ambassador to Sri Lanka, Martin Collacott, the records of the consular section of the Sri Lankan High Commission in Canada showed that more than 8600 Sri Lankans (who were living in Canada) applied for travel documents from Canada at the Sri Lankan High Commission office in Ottawa to visit Sri Lanka in 1995. The important point to note is that these people who wanted travel documents had just applied for refugee status in Canada and their applications were in the process of being examined. The 2 obvious questions that should have been asked then were the following : If Sri Lanka was such a dangerous place, why were these refugee applicants going back there? Was this not ample evidence that these people were committing fraud and should have been summarily deported for lying in their applications? Why were they not deported? There are now well over 250,000 Tamils living in the Toronto area alone. The majority of these owe their presence either to direct fraud as false refugee claimants. Or they owe their presence to indirect fraud as the sponsored relatives of false claimants. The other questions which should be asked now are these : How many of the Tamils who are now providing “help” to the Tamil boat people are those who brazenly cheated? Is it not logical to assume that the “help” these people are providing to the boat people probably consists of “tried and true” ways to defraud Canada?
4. Canada has been on immigration and refugee overload for the past 20 years. Canada has the largest per capita net intake of immigrants, the highest intake of refugee claim applicants in the G8, and one of the highest acceptance rates of refugees in the world. Cheaters have not come just from Sri Lanka. Canada's major immigrant-sending countries (India, China, Pakistan, Mexico and others) have turned Canada's refugee system into an alternate immigration system. Since 1989, well over 700,000 people have entered Canada as refugee claimants. An accepted refugee application is the proverbial foot in the door. The sole reason that many refugees have for coming here is to bring in as many other family members as possible.
Once again, it is difficult to get information from Canada's Department of Citizenship and Immigration, in this case, accurate numbers on the number of accepted refugees who sponsor their relatives. Our Department of Citizenship and Immigration says that Canada accepts half of those who make claims. If we assume conservatively that 350,000 (half the actual refugee claimants) have sponsored 2 relatives each to come to Canada, then another 700,000 people have entered Canada in the last 20 years as a result of Canada's lack of control of its refugee claimant system. If the accepted refugee claimants have sponsored 3 or more relatives, then the total effect of having such a high acceptance rate is well over a million and probably over two million. Compare that probable 2+ million with Canada's total immigration intake of over 5 million in the past 20 years. Canadians can easily get the picture. It is nonsense for our immigration industry to claim that refugee numbers represent only about 10% of Canada's intake and are insignificant. The reality is that refugee claimants and the relatives they sponsor may represent almost half of Canada's total immigration intake of over 5 million in the past 20 years. This should highlight the importance of doing something about the refugee claimant mess.
The key problem is Canada's acceptance rate. According to James Bissett, the reason Canada's acceptance rate is so much higher than that in other countries is that the Immigration and Refugee Board judges are not a professionally-trained group. They do not have the expertise needed to do their work. Either the judges have to be replaced with people who possess expertise or a new, much simpler refugee professional determination system has to be put in place. The latter is preferable. A fair but much lower acceptance rate would solve many problems. Fewer accepted refugees would mean there will be fewer sponsored relatives in Canada's regular immigration system. That will automatically help to cut Canada's immigration intake. At the same time, Canada has to significantly decrease immigration levels. Since 1991, Canada has taken about 250,000 immigrants per year. It has to base immigration intake primarily on Canada's needs (which are probably very low), not on the needs of non-Canadians. It is insulting to Canadians to be told by a shipload of Tamils that they are here and Canada has to take them. But it is even more insulting to several million unemployed Canadians and their families to have all of our federal parties (and their counterparts on the provincial and municipal level) say absolutely nothing and do absolutely nothing about reducing immigration levels and the importing of Temporary Foreign Workers during a serious recession.
5. Most other countries have exerted control of their borders by accepting relatively few refugee claims from Sri Lankan Tamils. But Canada is not one of these countries. According to Martin Collacott, former Canadian ambassador to Sri Lanka, in the year 2003 alone, all the rest of the world granted refugee status to only 1160 Tamil claimants. But in the same year, Canada gave refugee status to 1749 Tamil claimants. The average acceptance rate for other countries was 15.8%. Canada's acceptance rate was 76.3%. Between 1989 and 2004, Canada accepted over 37,000 claims from Sri Lanka, far more than from the nationals of any other country in the world.
6. For a long time, Canada's politicians at all levels have ignored Canadian concerns about phoney refugee applicants and unnecessary immigration. From what Canadians have said in the past few days, all should be getting the message that most Canadians are very angry about the arrival of the Tamil ship and the lack of control Canada seems to have. Most feel humiliated that Canada is being abused by people smugglers. Canadian authorities are correct in assuming that it is highly probable that the Sri Lankans who have arrived are part of a human smuggling operation. A few days ago, one of the 76 Tamils who arrived in October of 2009 admitted that he had paid people smugglers $45,000 to travel on that ship. It is logical to assume that the other people on that ship paid the same or something similar. As a result of the straitjacket that has been imposed on Canada's refugee system mostly by Canada's immigration industry, Canada has to allow the customers of people smugglers to go through the refugee determination process. Most Canadians do not approve of human smuggling/people trafficking and want something done to stop it. They think that accepting smuggled people does not send the right message to smugglers/traffickers.
Over many years, our immigration industry and many in our media have minimized Canadian concerns about refugee claimant abuse and other immigration problems. In contrast, they have maximized the plight of refugee claimants. For example, in the past few days, they have portrayed the latest Tamil arrivals as “desperate”. How “desperate” can Tamils be if they can raise $45,000 to pay a criminal organization? If the new Tamils have not paid the smugglers, have they promised to work for them until their debt to the people-smuggler is paid off? Is the “work” in Canada going to be criminal activity? Canadians should note that according to James Bissett, the UN recognizes that human-trafficking ranks second in profitability only to drug dealing. Many in our media and immigration industry have dressed the Tamil boat incident in sheep's clothing. But it is clearly connected to other people trafficking/smuggling incidents around the world. Furthermore, according to Canada's Auditor General, about 60% of those making refugee claims in the year 2000 did so without any documents. Refugee advocates like to say that this is not surprising because the country, from which these refugee claimants came, would not issue documents to these people. However, in order to get to Canada, these people would have had to show some documents to authorities, particularly to airlines. Yet, very mysteriously, many of these people do not have documents to show Canadian authorities. It is assumed that they have passed the documents on to representatives of the criminal organizations they worked with.
7. If a full-cost accounting system were in place in Canada, Canadians would see the enormous cost that lack of control of Canada's borders has meant. The economic cost of dealing with refugee claims is very high. A diversion of that money to homelessness in Canada or to true refugees in camps around the world would have been much more productive than to provide Canada's immigration industry with a living. Refugee claimant costs include free lawyers' fees, free medical, free dental, free appeals, and a free living allowance. It is not clear exactly how much Canadians have to pay for these refugee claimant services. One government estimate is that it costs Canada $50,000 for each “failed” claimant. Canadians should note that the government has used the tern “failed claimant”. What then is the cost of successful claimants? According to James Bissett, the cost of successful claimants is probably much higher. He estimates the cost of Canada's current refugee system at around $2 to 3 Billion per year. A backlog of 60,000 claimants exists. This means that it takes a long time (maybe over 4 years) for a refugee claimant to start the hearing process. The cost meter is running while these people wait. Once again, note that over 700,000 people have made claims since 1989. In today's dollars, if we assume that it costs $50,000 for each of 700,000 applicants, a bare minimum cost would be $35 Billion. Since a significant number of claims go on for many years, that number is actually much, much higher. For example, one particular claim has dragged on for over 20 years. It alone has cost several million.
The environmental costs of taking these fraudulent claimants, their dependants and all of the unnecessary immigrants who have arrived since 1990 have never been calculated. But it is not an exaggeration to say that very significant environmental damage has been caused by all of these people moving into places like Metro Toronto and Metro Vancouver. In both these areas, regular immigrants and accepted refugees are the largest factor in the population increases there. Many say that Metro Vancouver and Metro Toronto are virtual environmental disasters-in-progress. Yet almost no municipal councillors or mayors in these areas ask the simple question :”When are we full?” In fact, many think they will never be full, that their population growth can continue forever, and that this is good because it promotes “Diversity”. Ironically, these people also like to present themselves as “green”. None seem conscious that the ludicrous pursuit of diversity is clearly the very opposite of the pursuit of “green” and that it has clearly destroyed large amounts of biodiversity.
It is difficult to calculate the cultural cost of accepting so many refugee claimants and unneeded regular immigrants. But it is certain that a significant cost exists. As we have pointed out before, many places like Richmond and Brampton have been virtually overwhelmed and mainstream Canadians there feel like foreigners. No one has calculated how many mainstream Canadians have become virtual refugees to escape the flood. If the absurdity continues, the same thing will happen to Canadians in many other areas of Canada. No sane country should ever allow its own population to be overwhelmed.