By: Graham Lane
Published: Winnipeg Sun, February 24, 2017
Despite the ongoing world turmoil, Canada has increased our intake of immigrants and refugees even while our closest allies (US, UK and Australia) consider shutting their doors. The unexpected UK Brexit vote followed by the shock election of Donald Trump can partly be attributed to concerns over keeping their borders safe. Should Canada dispense with secure border controls after watching a million migrants rush into Germany? Acceptance of ‘walking in’ refugees suggests just that.
Asylum seekers destined for Australia by boat are settled in refugee camps on the islands of Nauru and Papua New Guinea. Only in exceptional circumstances are those migrants allowed into Australia, which is considering banning (for life) of asylum seekers arriving by boat.
America, Britain and Australia have sent clear messages – borders are to be protected.
Too often political parties and mainstream media fails to acknowledge the importance of keeping secure borders for the safety and economic welfare of Canadians. Most of us believe that refugees should always be screened and thoroughly checked before letting them in.
Canada has long led the world in generous immigration policies, but those policies include tightly screening all applicants. Our strict standards screening applicants before letting them in made Canada the envy of the world – we shouldn’t give that up for ‘walk in’ migrants.
There is a simple way to differentiate refugees from immigrants: refugees have to leave their home country, immigrants prefer to leave. There are 21 million refugees in the world, Canada is committed to accepting 25,000-40,000 of them each year (more per capita than any other developed country).The political understanding has been clear: let in real refugees but, and, this is important, only after extensive screening. That is the job of our federal government: they should fulfill their responsibilities.
What we have with the recent influx of Somalian young men walking into Manitoba neither meets the definition of refugees nor upholds our standards for screening and selecting newcomers to Canada. Those now ‘walking in’ untested are mostly young men who have travelled to the USA on visitor or study visas. In the US, they decide to head for Canada rather than living with the risk that US will send them back home.
Noted last week in my column – but worth repeating: for now over 20-years Somalia is a dreadfully failed state. Canada granted only one Visitor Visa to a Somalian in the first nine months of last year, just one. This a very strong indication that our government has been uncomfortable with the security checks they have done on Somalians applying for immigrant status.
If our government allows an unrestricted wave of unscreened Somalian single men to just walk into Canada, get ready for a new element of insecurity along with a massive negative reaction from Canadians.
To allow this ‘walking in’ to go on unchecked would surely lead to a backlash from the general public, just as has been experienced in the UK, USA, Australia and many European countries. Canadians support accepting refugees, but not through the back door.
Maintain extensive screening and close the loophole allowing those that simply ‘walk in’. No to wide-open borders, however hard some pundits push for that risky agenda.
Graham Lane leads Manitoba Forward (manitobaforward.ca), seeking sensible policies.