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Cut Off Legal Aid for Illegal Border Crossers

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20Apr

by Graham Lane

Published in the Winnipeg Sun, April 20, 2018

With the weather getting warmer, now is the season of illegal immigrants crossing into Canada. While Justin Trudeau and his Immigration Minister, Ahmad Hussen, continue to hold out the welcome mat, the Head of Canada’s Customs and Immigration Union calls for additional resources to manage massive inflows into Canada.

What is supposed to be a 90 day adjudication of cases now stretches to two years and rising. Once a claim has been made, valid or not, applicants qualify for a work permit and free enhanced health care. Despite having no legal status in Canada, applicants are also entitled to free dental, free eye care, and free prescriptions.

The numbers have risen dramatically since the federal Liberals “invited” them to arrive in Canada.  This occurred when Donald Trump began his crack down on illegals remaining in the USA.  To put the problem in perspective, there are up to 11 million illegals in the USA. Each can easily drive to a location near the border and walk into Canada claiming asylum. Many arriving now have criminal convictions in the USA, or have been charged awaiting trial. This is a real concern raised by the Union – but rebuffed by Liberal Politicians.

The USA approves only 18% of asylum seekers who apply within their country, whereas Canada approves 70% in the first go around. Those refused in Canada can then apply for appeals, humanitarian and compassionate stay, and pre-removal risk assessment (a determination of whether it is safe to return to their home country). Although there are no official statistics kept on the actual numbers who are allowed to stay in Canada, by any account it is at least 85%. That means the chance of being allowed to stay in Canada is 400% higher than it is in the USA.

Adding to this problem is that two provinces, Manitoba and Quebec, fully fund the legal aid provided to the illegal crossers’ asylum applications. The impact on the provinces is enormous, in terms of housing requirements, education for the children, language courses, health care, etc. For the magnitude of this problem, consider the number of claimants for the last five years:

2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
10,375 13,455 16,120 23,930 50,405

Despite numbers increasing by 500% in 5 years, the Trudeau Government does not see this as a crisis. It might not be so for them, but it is for our courts, our schools, our social service providers, etc.

It is not unthinkable that annual asylum claims will reach over 100,000 per year. While the federal Liberals continue to say that this is not a crisis, the Conservatives have yet to come up with any solutions either.  With the recent announcement by Donald Trump that the USA is suspending its “Catch and Release” program, fear among illegal workers in the USA has escalated dramatically.

Canada cannot and should not be the recipient of hundreds of thousands of mostly illegal economic migrants. It is vital for our politicians to discuss this problem candidly and openly, something that is yet to happen.

In Manitoba’s case, the so-called “fiscally conservative” Pallister Government should at least yank free legal aid for illegal border crossers and engage with the Trudeau government on the growing crisis.

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