In his State of the Union address in 1995, Bill Clinton said the U.S. is a nation of immigrants but also a national of laws. It is wrong and self-defeating to permit abuse of those laws at the border, he said.
In his recent interview with the National Post, Justin Trudeau sounded more concerned with rationalizing the surge of migrants on Canada’s southern border than regaining control of the flow of asylum-seekers crossing from the U.S.
He offered no new ideas on how to stop those entering Canada illegally between official ports of entry and suggested the new arrivals will be an economic boon for the country.
“The fact that we have extremely low unemployment, we’re seeing labour shortages in certain parts of the country, (means) it is a good time to reflect that we are bringing in immigrants who are going to keep our economy growing,” he said.
Canadians not confident that government can manage border crossings regulating asylum seeker entry: survey
Canada has only removed six of 900 irregular migrants fleeing removal orders in U.S.
Canada deemed U.S. a safe country for asylum seekers after internal review
The government has paid lip-service to modernizing the Safe Third Country Agreement with the U.S. that states migrants claiming refugee status must make their claim in the first “safe” country they arrive in – Canada or U.S.
A loophole in the pact with the Americans means it does not apply between official points of entry.
But there has been no progress in actually closing that loophole. The Trudeau government appears to have thrown up its hands in the face of American intransigence.
But Canadians’ faith in an immigration system that is legal, secure and economically-driven has been shaken. There is disbelief that the federal government can do nothing to take back control of Canada’s borders.
With good reason. There is no question that the political and legal environment has limited the government’s room for manoeuvre. But it is also true that the Liberals have not shown the will to reinforce the integrity of the refugee system. For example, once elected, the Trudeau government decided not to appeal a Federal Court decision that ruled it was unconstitutional for the government to strip asylum-seekers from countries designated as “safe” from appealing negative refugee rulings.
James Bissett was head of Canada’s immigration service and is a former Canadian ambassador. He suggested that by passing new regulations under the current Immigration Act, the government could act unilaterally and prevent applications for asylum from people residing in a “safe” country (apart from citizens of that country).
“Designating the U.S.A. a ‘safe’ country and passing an order-in-council accordingly would stop the flow across the border. I don’t see this as a violation of the Safe Third Country agreement, but if it is, then we should unilaterally end the agreement,” he said. “But I’m afraid the government doesn’t want to stop the flow and hopes a large portion of the population will agree to keep the flow coming.”
Andrew House, a lawyer at Fasken and a …read more