Is there a compassionate way to deal with mass migration?
The United States and European countries are required to cope with mass migrations of peoples from failed or imperilled states. Canada copes with a comparative trickle. Yet no country handles this well.
• In the US, illegal-immigrant children die in custody;
• Europe contracts out refugee return with refugee origin countries;
• Canada lets its immigration systems be overwhelmed, dumping costs and responsibilities on unprepared provincial and municipal governments.
Let all of us answer some basic questions about extra-legal immigration. If you do not like it, what do you not like: the increased immigrants themselves, or the unfairness of the processes by which they arrive and stay?
The more significant problem is the sheer volume of mass migration. On what grounds would a State accept thousands of undocumented immigrants? Compassion is a treasured motive, but when the impact of immigrants is upon the welfare of the state, the responsible government faces a difficult choice. “The Wall” – if ever it were to be effective – would in some ways be the more compassionate response, certainly better than having the European-subsidized Libyan navy interdict and imprison boatloads of African emigrants. Angela Merkel’s acceptance of a million refugees was an example of maximum compassion but with resultant high political costs.
Canada does not face such a challenge nor is likely to.
Yet, Canada provides welfare to undocumented immigrants, with up to two years’ waiting for a refugee claim hearing. But employment is allowed, under certain rules. The system is over-capacity but not overwhelmed.
In the past, Canada has acted to require Visas for Mexican visitors, due to the large volume of refugee claims. More targeted application of Visa rules is a reasonable control for mass migrations. But such rules would not be effective against border crossings in unauthorized areas.
Anyone in Canada -legal, illegal, undocumented – is protected by the Charter of Rights: that is the determination of the Supreme Court of Canada, although not the Parliament of Canada. However, there is a strong moral argument that Canadians themselves should determine whether their citizenship entitles them to the same rights, more rights or less rights than those who cross our borders without asking.
A country is entitled to defend its borders. Against all: Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Sailor, Rich Man, Poor Man, Beggar Man, Thief. We need to determine whether Canada has the right to resist flows of illegal or undocumented immigration and, if so, what actions are justified to maintain that right.