This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Instigator and the Fallout

"I can understand the concerns Canadians share about whether this is a short cut, whether this is somehow uncontrolled immigration."
"What I'm very pleased to be able to say ... is that the rules on Canada's immigration system continue to be enforced."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ... August 2017

"A photo op after a meeting will not cut it. The Prime Minister of Canada, in order to help the world's most vulnerable and to salvage the Canadian asylum claim system needs to come up with a credible plan and he needs o explain it to Canadians."
Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel, Conservative immigration critic

"To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ... January 2017

"My Canadian training, I'm a paralegal, means I have to tell them [Salvadorans in the U.S. making enquiries about coming to Canada] that because of our immigration laws, they can't just show up at the border."
"When Mr. Trudeau said  welcome refugees and stuff like that, he didn't say you have to visit our embassies or consulates, you have to get a visa."
"He missed that part."
Angela Ventura, head, Salvadoran community association, Windsor, Ontario

"There are similarities to the policy context [the first wave of asylum seekers in 1985 fleeing civil war when the U.S. granted asylum to only 3 percent] -- people who were not being recognized as refugees in the U.S. but felt that they would be in Canada were coming over the border."
"But the main difference is the Safe Third Country agreement [between Canada and the U.S.] because it changes the way the border works."
Julie Young, post-doctoral fellow, Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

How it works is that each, considered a country of safe haven, will only contemplate receiving refugee claimants who come to either the U.S. or Canada directly, turning away any who arrive for example in Canada after first claiming haven in the United States, and vice-versa. To get around this impediment, people living in the United States, mostly Haitians and El Salvadorans, have taken to bypassing official border crossings to cross illegally, where there is little option but to accept their claims and begin the process of verification and deliberation.

And the man who boasted that Canada is ready,willing and able to welcome any and all who come to its borders, anxious to disassociate himself from the stance of the new American president who is doing precisely what his predecessors did, effectively attempting to make some headway in clearing out some of the millions of illegals living in the United States, must bear a goodly portion of the responsibility for the chaos that has now been visited on Canada. Justin Trudeau's much-publicized tweet showing off his progressive credentials got wide coverage; he is as needy of approval as the man he is eager to prove he is the direct opposite of.

More than 260,000 El Salvadorans stand to be deported from the United States once the temporary protected status granted them as a result of the civil war that raged there years ago is lifted in March. In the same token, a much lesser number of Haitians for whom temporary status was given in the wake of the 2010 earthquake fear their status will be revoked in January, and they have been arriving in their thousands at illegal border crossings into Canada to declare themselves refugees. Notwithstanding that Canada lifted its own temporary haven status for Haitians a year ago.

Their arrival, some ten thousand in number since the turn of the year, with hundreds arriving daily, has overtaxed Canada's claims system. It will be many months before all the refugee claims can be processed, perhaps even longer. In the meanwhile, communities and provincial agencies are taxed with the burden of housing and caring for these people. The Province of Quebec has initiated the process of disbursing monthly welfare cheques to those who qualify, to enable them to move from the temporary tent cities holding them to rental accommodation.

Those thousands of Haitians, many of whom have lived for many years in the U.S. are leaving in fear of being deported by the Trump administration, although the Obama administration had begun the process of deportation back to Haiti. Many have children born in the United States. Incorrect information went out through the medium of social media informing Haitians they would be welcome in Canada. No one appears to have informed them, however, that there are official channels that must be respected, visas and other paperwork to be obtained.

Many of the asylum seekers now seeking entry to Canada from the United States left Haiti as a result of faltering economic conditions after the devastating earthquake in 2010, not directly after the earthquake had occurred. They weren't eligible to take advantage of the temporary protected status meant for those who left in the direct wake of the disaster; they are among those the U.S. began deporting last November following the six-year moratorium. Temporary doesn't mean 'forever' in any language. But they heard on the grapevine that Canada would welcome them.

For Canada, their arrival is not particularly auspicious; the backlog experienced by Canada's immigration system under normal conditions is bad enough. Now the Immigration and Refugee Board is struggling to accommodate the added pressure loaded over their backlogs. The rush of would-be refugee claimants are mostly Haitians at this point, but all indications point to a swell of much larger numbers representing El Salvadorans in the U.S. rushing the border into Canada as well. And Canada will be hard-pressed to cope.

In the 1980s, fleeing civil war, Canada took in over ten thousand refugees from El Salvador; Canada's acceptance rate at that time was 60 percent, as opposed to the three percent acceptance of the United States in granting asylum to civil-war fleeing Salvadorans. And that was when they showed up at official border points, before the two countries signed the 'safe haven' agreement that has Haitians showing up in droves at illegal crossings.

One thing has to be clarified: if Haitians know enough to bypass official border stations because they will be turned back and not allowed to make their refugee claims under that agreement, knowing that at the illegal crossings they will be taken into custody and their claims processed, how is it that they would not know that all claimants are required to obtain visas beforehand in recognition of legal entry requirements that all countries depend upon to control who and how many people take advantage of their immigration and refugee policies?

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