In recent months, Canadian officials have been heading south to try to stem a wave of undocumented immigrants headed their way.
Canadian representatives visited the U.S this week to warn illegal immigrants fleeing from President Trump’s immigration crackdown that they won’t simply be welcomed into Canada with open arms.
Randy Boissonnault, a liberal member of Parliament and a special advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, visited South Florida this week to give would-be immigrants a harsh wake up call about the realities of the Canadian immigration system.
Over the past year and a half, Canada has seen a major increase in immigrants crossing the US border illegally into Canada. These migrants mostly cross over into the province of Quebec, which borders New York and several other northeastern states.
Last August, Royal Canadian Mounted Police captured more than 5,500 people trying to hop across the US-Canada border illegally. Those immigrants were mostly Haitian in origin, and most were fleeing the US because they are about to lose their Temporary Protected Status.
This status change for Haitian refugees is a part of the Trump administration’s plan to end the TPS program. The TPS program has allowed more than 300,000 people from war-torn or otherwise disaster-stricken countries to remain temporarily within the US while waiting for their asylum applications to go through.
But only about 8% of those 300,000 asylum applications have been approved. And now that Trump is ending the TPS program, the vast majority of those refugees have been turned down. Most will be deported back to their countries of origin.
Some of them have decided to try their luck in the Great White North, instead.
“People seem to think that if they cross the border there’s this land of milk and honey on the other side,” said Randy Boissonnault on Thursday. “What we want is for people to have the right information. We want them to do the right thing for their families.”
To that end, a group of Canadian officials have started coming to the US to meet with immigrants here, to try and dissuade them from making the journey north. The Canadian border is well-guarded and, contrary to popular opinion, emigrating into Canada is surprisingly challenging.
Despite receiving the scorn of the entire world, and despite its genuine problems, the US immigration system is still one of the fairest and most open in the world. Canada’s immigration system is positively draconian by comparison.
This makes sense, given that the Canadian welfare state is also much larger than our own. So the Canadians guard their borders with surprising zeal. And now they are sending delegations south to convince immigrants in the US not to try anything crazy.
These diplomats have made it their job to warn refugees in the US that if they make an attempted border crossing into Canada without the right paperwork, they and their children will soon become very well acquainted with the design of Canada’s prison system.
These Canadians started making their visits to the U.S. last summer, when they first saw illegal immigrants begin trickling across their border in greater than usual numbers. The “please keep out, eh” delegation has visited Los Angeles to “educate” Mexican and Central American migrants. And they’ve made a number of trips to the Little Haiti district in Miami.
This week, Randy Boissonnault met with a number of South Florida immigration issue groups. He even went on a Spanish-language radio station, to explain in broken Spanish that an attempted move to Canada is “un plan no bueno”.
A staffer for Canada’s Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship also said that officials in their US consulates are spreading the same message. By this summer, the Miami consulate will even have a full-time officer whose job will be to dissuade those who are likely to try entering Canada illegally.
Part of this problem that the Canadian immigration officers now face comes from political statements made by the Canadian government, which wants to present itself as kind, friendly, humane, and pro-immigrant.
They are trying to present themselves as the friendly opposites to Donald Trump’s tough rhetoric around border security. But in reality the Canadians haven’t changed their strict immigration laws, and have done little to really welcome new immigrants from poor and low-skill backgrounds.
For what it’s worth, Canada has been increasing the total number of immigrants it admits each year. It’s projected to accept 310,000 new permanent residents this year. The Canadian government has also set a goal of increasing the annual total to 340,000 by 2020.
But the vast, vast majority of those new immigrants will be skilled laborers; doctors from India and Pakistan, programmers from China, engineers from Europe, investors from the US. Canada is not taking in a massive influx of low-skilled, poor migrants.
By contrast, the US accepts about a million new permanent residents every year, more than three times what the Canadians take in.
But Canadian politicians like Justin Trudeau have still presented their nation as refugee-friendly, despite the numbers. And in all fairness, the Canadian government has also increased the number of refugees it takes in.
The Canadian government is planning to accept about 43,000 refugees this year, increasing that to nearly 49,000 by 2020. (If that seems like a tiny increase and a largely symbolic gesture to you, you’re not alone in thinking so.)
The US government’s cap on refugees for 2018 is 45,000. And that’s even after President Trump cut our refugee cap in half. In other words, we’re still willing to take more people than the Canadians are, and that’s in the midst of a push to reduce refugee immigration.
And yet the bleeding-heart, refugee-friendly Canadians are sending diplomats here to convince people not to come to their country.
And somehow the leftist media will find a way to make the Trump administration the bad guys of this story.