Canada's Generous Welcome for Illegal Southern Border Arrivals Wears Thin

By Dan Cadman on May 4, 2018

Several media outlets, including the Washington Times, have been carrying articles — leaked by Canadian government sources I am guessing — that express the Trudeau administration's frustration that they have been unable to get our government to amend the bilateral "safe return" agreement governing when each may return third-country aliens arriving or attempting to enter illegally from the other side of the border.

This has become a matter of increasing concern to Canada over the past several months, as their authorities have encountered third-country arrivals who don't fit the parameters now outlined in the bilateral agreement. They are thus obliged to deal with them internally via Canada's own immigration and refugee mechanisms, which are more liberal than ours, and that's saying a lot.

Speaking as a retired immigration officer with nearly three decades of experience, it's my view that over the past many years the bilateral agreement has better served Canada than it has the United States, so this new flood of arrivals has thrown the Canadian government and people into a bit of turmoil, insofar as they cannot neatly and simply be handed over to U.S. officials to cope with since they're outside the parameters of the existing agreement. (Of course, the word "flood" is relative: somewhat more than 20,000 since the beginning of 2017, which is a drop in the bucket by U.S. "irregular arrival" measures, though unprecedented by theirs.)

It is ironic that the Canadian government — which engaged in unabashed virtue signaling (see here and here) when the U.S. government began expressing reservations about the wisdom of accepting Syrian migrants in light of their infiltration by ISIS and other extremists — is now trying to work itself out of the box that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau put it in when he made known how extremely welcoming, liberal, and generous Canada was (implicitly by comparison with the United States), and would continue to be, toward would-be migrants.

The chickens have now come home to roost, and Canada is discovering that it's easy to be generous on an abstract basis, or when you can strictly control the numbers. But it's a different story when you actually have to carry the burden of caring for unexpected and unvetted individuals showing up on your doorstep by the thousands, something we have borne on our own southern borders for years now.

Topics: Canada