Stop immigration crime at its source
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is right to go directly to source countries in the fight against scam marriages, unscrupulous immigration consultants and human smugglers.
From Wednesday's Globe and Mail Published on Tuesday, Sep. 07, 2010 7:30PM EDT
Last updated on Wednesday, Sep. 08, 2010 7:46AM E
Canadians should be well aware of the lengths some people are willing to go to forge a better life: the harrowing trans-Pacific journey by Tamil refugee claimants made that clear. So Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is right to go directly to source countries in the fight against scam marriages, unscrupulous immigration consultants and human smugglers. Indeed, it will take a government-wide strategy, domestically and internationally, to combat the crime and fraud associated with the journey immigrants make to Canada, and Canada cant do it alone.
Source countries for migrants may feel they have less of an immediate stake in the issue. But immigration fraudsters dupe their own citizens, and work in networks that may branch into other areas of crime. For immigrants, scams and crimes are broken promises that lead to broken homes and a burden of debt owed to middlemen. For Canada, that often means the entry of the wrong people into the country, while others Canada would prefer are forced to wait, or never get their chance to come.
Canada is one of the largest destination countries for Asian immigration, and a personal visit by the minister responsible will help focus the energies of the source countries on fighting fraud.
But the trip is also needed because Canada needs to demonstrate resolve at home to stop immigration-related crimes. Current reforms, including the additional safe country designation as part of the refugee determination process, and pending changes to the immigration consultant and live-in caregiver regimes, go some way.
When it comes to human smuggling, there is more work to do. Although Mr. Kenney is not visiting Thailand, a key transit point for human smuggling of Tamils from Sri Lanka, he can raise the need for more information sharing and regional security co-operation with the Indians and Chinese.
The message about the costs of co-operating with criminals needs to be spread widely. More charges against and prosecutions of human smugglers would help, as would more work by Canadian officials to connect directly with potential immigrants something Mr. Kenney has initiated with his visit. The federal governments new partnership with Crime Stoppers to raise awareness about human trafficking is also meritorious.
Immigration-related crime is a global problem, and to date, the criminals have proved much more nimble than national governments. The outreach efforts by the federal government are on the right track.
Immigration Minister calls on India, China to root out immigration fraud
Jane Taber: A 'family affair' to counter human trafficking
Globe editorial: Ending human smuggling