The federal government has tabled new legislation with respect to refugees and has, once again, completely missed the mark. Now, I know, it is easy to sit on the sidelines and make judgements but, really, this latest Conservative initiative can best be described as an avoidance of taking responsible action.
There are very simple steps that can be taken to stop the large shipments of seeming refugees that appear to be generated by organized crime. The first step has to be a demonstration of what happens to anyone participating in such illegal processes. In order to do this it must first be very clearly understood that any vessel carrying illegal immigrants will be seized and confiscated. Next, every member of the crew would be charged with conspiracy to traffic in human beings and, when found guilty, should pay a high penalty. No exceptions. We must deter future cargoes of immigration queue jumpers.
When dealing with the actual refugees the Immigration authorities should demand, up front, a very large sum of money equal to the amount of processing their claims for Canadian citizenship – they have proved they have large amounts of money to pay for their passage in the first place. Why should we, the Canadian taxpayers, foot the bill?
The process of allowing the so-called refugees should start with asking if the person[s] making the application[s] have been refused refugee status by any other nation. In the latest batch of so-called refugees many, apparently, sought asylum in Britain but were refused. Canadian immigration authorities should find out why these people were denied refugee status by other nations for this process may prove the applicant to be undesireable or not a legitimate refugee.
Let me explain. I have grave concerns, as an immigrant myself, that Canada is being used as an easy doorway into the new world. As British citizens it took my wife and me three years to get our legitimate immigration papers and we were qualified in a profession. A refugee is someone seeking shelter from another country having a regime that might be considered dangerous for the refugee applicant. In genuine situations we should not waver in providing assistance. However, in the case of the Tamils who have sought refugee asylum in our country the vast majority [more than 70%, according to an internal government sampling] return to Sri Lanka for casual visits or holidays. If the refugees’ homeland was so dangerous for them why would they feel comfortable returning to the country they felt was persecuting them?
It is most unfortunate these immigration queue jumpers are allowed into the country when legitimate immigrants are forced to return to their country of origin and re-apply to emigrate. There was the recent case of a Mexican couple being forced to return to Mexico because they had not formally applied for immigration status from their native land. This couple had created a business that sustained their family, they had bought a home and then lost everything because of an inflexible immigration system for honest people.
Closer to home, several years ago I was asked if I would try to help a British family that was to be deported. The father had found employment as a specialist printer [he had special printing skills]. The mother had obtained employment as a cake decorator with a large multi-national grocery chain. The two children were considered to be excellent students by the principal of the Martintown public school, which they attended. No amount of pleading could stop them from being deported – because they came from an unthreatening nation. These people originally came here on a holiday, liked the country and wanted to stay. No way were they allowed to stay because they were not liars or Tamils.
The Conservative government of Canada needs to step up to the plate, forget the window dressing and take some honest, positive measures to correct the dishonest queue jumping they have allowed to evolve. Our country needs good immigrants and refugees make up some of the immigration numbers – refugees often do turn out to be good citizens and should be afforded, through a correct and legitimate process, every opportunity to come to Canada where they will be protected.
John E. Milnes – South Stormont Ontario
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