By: Graham Lane
Published: Winnipeg Sun, March 10, 2017
Articles on a building wave of illegal immigrants entering Canada have met with a tremendous response. Canadians deserve protected borders. Walking-in asylum claimants should not be allowed to jump the refugee applicant queue. Current inadequate processes need to be tightened and changes to our laws made.
Getting around the refugee queue by ‘walking in’ avoids the 6-18 months of careful checks undertaken in Refugee Camps. The necessary checks involve the UNHCR, CSIS and Interpol, with assistance from US Security Agencies.
The challenge we face to secure our borders is largely the result of the 1985 Singh case. Canada’s Supreme Court, abiding by the then-new Charter of Rights and Freedoms, ruled that anyone setting foot in Canada claiming refugee status is entitled to a full oral hearing of their case. Full taxpayer support follows until the process is done. Lawyers love it, the government pays bills for tens of millions of billable hours since.
The federal government of the day recognized that the ruling required significant changes to protect society, but sat on their hands. Still now, 32-years later, no effective mechanism has been put in place to deal effectively with in-Canada refugee cases. Successive governments promised to set up the necessary infrastructure, all failed to do so.
A result of the court decision was the case of Mr. Harjit Singh. He claimed refugee status after arriving as a visitor in 1988. Refused refugee status and losing his appeal, he continued applying again and again (on claimed humanitarian and compassionate grounds). Finally he was deported: 17 years later and then only due to a $1.1 million fraud conviction. Allegedly he travelled out and back to Canada 20 times, using using other people’s passports while pursuing his appeals.
Even more egregious is the case of Mahmoud Mohammad Issa Mohammad. In 1968, he was convicted of hijacking an El Al aircraft in Greece and killing an aircraft mechanic After his conviction, his terrorist group hijacked another aircraft and negotiated his release: which came only a few months into his jail sentence. Incredibly, he arrived in Canada on a fraudulently obtained visitor visa in 1988. While his true background was quickly found out, it took 26 years before Canada was able to deport him.
The signing of the Canada-USA Safe Third Country Agreement has a profound and positive affect in reducing bogus claims, as have improvements to airline check-in procedures applying to those seeking travel to Canada. Still, we are left with a dysfunctional system allowing people to simply walk into Canada. Walk-ins receive full legal protection along with social, health and economic support awaiting a final review of their refugee claims.
So far, 50% of failed refugee claimants have been allowed to stay. Regardless of risk, Canada doesn’t deport people to failed countries like Somalia, Burundi and Yemen. We can only ask ‘those refused’ applicants to leave – we cannot force them. Most are single men. Some marry and start families in Canada, they are allowed to remain. Jumping the queue works.
Trump has already had a massive impact, millions of illegals fear deportation. Our government, ill prepared, must find a solution. Consider the Notwithstanding clause of our constitution.
Graham Lane leads Manitoba Forward (manitobaforward.ca).
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