Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Deporting For Dollars

How much does it cost to remove an illegal migrant from Canada? According to this Sun News Network video, the typical cost is $1,500; although in cases when an escort and other special procedures are required to ensure that the individual has actually left Canada, the average cost is an order of magnitude higher - about $15,000 with some exceptional cases costing as much as $125,000.

The video discusses different methods to reduce these costs by limiting the number of appeals that are available to bogus refugee claimants and illegal migrants. But there's one thing that wasn't mentioned: The Safe Third Country provision. The idea is simple: if a refugee claimant doesn't come to Canada directly from his home country, but makes a stop someplace else where it's safe enough for him to seek asylum - he should do that right there. It's just common sense, isn't it?

The safe third country provision has been on the books for decades. It just wasn't active, as none of the governments of the time bothered to come up with the list of those safe countries. Only in 2002 the government finally decided to act and signed a Safe Third Country agreement with the US. Migrants in both countries, wishing to seek asylum, were required to do so in whichever country they arrive first. The special interest advocates of all stripes were furious, but the agreement did go through, taking effect in the spring of 2003 and the number of "asylum shoppers" - those choosing to claim refugee in Canada, because of higher acceptance rate and more generous social assistance, did go down.

So it's about time the government takes the next logical step and signs a similar Safe Third Country agreement with the EU states. That will cut the number of asylum shoppers even further, (as any of them who has a stop-over in Europe would have to apply there,) not to mention that it will solve the visa dispute that we have with the EU over over a couple of Eastern European states. It's a win-win solution, so it should be the first step.

And then the government could deal with the immigration system which too is in dear need of repair. In the video, the representative from the Ministry of Immigration argued that the cost of bringing in legal immigrants is "pretty reasonable". That cost should be zero. The existing selection system which assesses prospective immigrants based on a vague and out-of-date job market information should be replaced with the Australian system, where recognition of immigrants' credentials is an integral part of the process. And if Australia requires immigrants whose dependents don't have the minimum language skills to pay for their ESL classes - I see no reason why Canada shouldn't follow suit.

No comments: