We ask this question sincerely and without malice: What’s Wrong With Immediate Deportations Of Illegal Immigrants?
We are proposing a streamlining of the process that removes the judicial review process to a a much more efficient non-judicial initial review of illegal migrants taking place at a much lower level (somewhere above the the Customs Officers but below the IRB).
Who Decides If A Migrant is “Illegal” Under Todays Immigration System?
In Canada these case reviews are handled by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). In the United States a “Federal Immigration Judge” under the Department of Justice, Immigration and Customs, and Board of Immigration.
Canada is processing about 50,000 asylum claimants per year but the Immigration and Refugee Board can process less than 15,000 per year. The result is illegal migrants being stuck in limbo, with no jobs or prospects for years on end, with the Canadian tax payer picking up the bill.
In the US the situation is not as long, but because there are so many layers it can and often does take a year or more to deport (now called “Removal” in the US).
In Canada the Winter and Spring 2018 illegal immigration was dominated by Hatian’s that had received temporary stay in the United States because of their horrific earthquake that crushed Haiti’s infrastructure. That stay was lifted in the fall of 2018 and as a result thousands of illegal migrants from Haiti fled to Canada from the US. Canada is now deporting 90% of them:
Haiti is at the top with 6,304 claims in total. Only 298 have been finalized, 29 accepted. Next is Nigeria, with 1,911 claims overall, and after that is Turkey at 631. SOURCE
You read that right; of 6300 claims only 300 have been processed in the last 6+months and 90% of them have been rejected. Clearly something needs to change and we propose that change be an expedited non-judicial review process.
What Rights Should Migrants Have?
This seems very clear to me and the answer is broken into two categories:
- Legal Migrants should have all the core protections they have today. If they go through an approval process and are validated for entry into the country, that country has an obligation to assist them in getting started and to not ‘kick them out’ without due process. This category includes both legal refugees (like the 30,000 Syrians that Canada brought in, in 2016) and those with landed immigrant status.
- Illegal Migrants should have human rights and that is all. Human rights in this context, is not the excessively broad United Nations definition, we think it is:
- The right to food, shelter and quality medical attention
- The right not to be physically harmed
- The right to a short rules based hearing to decide if they are at risk or if they are simply economic migrants that should be returned to their home country so they can fill out the paperwork and go through the legal immigration processes
- That’s it.
Is a full judicial review of each illegal migrant case really necessary? We think not.
In a world of unlimited resources, we would be all for a judicial review but limited resources are causing enormous backlogs that are not fair to legal migrants and legitimate refugees.
What is a Short Rules Based Immigration Hearing?
It is important that the Short Rules Based Immigration hearing truly be rules based and not just what some cowboy immigration officer wants to impose. Note that I don’t think most police / immigration officers are “cowboy cops” but some are so rules keep everything straight.
The goal of the hearing is to give the migrant the ability to explain why he/she crossed illegally. If, as is very often the case, there is an asylum claim that the migrant will endure serious physical harm they should be given a VERY small amount of time prove that claim. I suggest a period of two weeks. Asylum seekers should be able to provide evidence of the danger they are in. This can be as simple as proving they are from a region in serious conflict like parts of Guatemala in 2018 or showing serious recent scaring with a matching story.
If an illegal migrant successfully passes the short immigration hearing, they should be placed into a refuge type queue and support should be provided.
What is a “Safe Country”?
A key point that seems to cause great contention in this current debate on illegal immigration is what to do if that migrant passed through a “safe country”. For example, if a gay Honduran citizen travels through Mexico before claiming refugee status in US, he will have passed through a “safe country”. In Honduras, it is downright dangerous to be gay be Mexican society has largely accommodated LGBTQ people.
What Should Happen To Illegal Migrants That Fail To Be Classified As Refugees?
If an illegal migrant fails to produce evidence they are in physical danger in their home or they transited through a “safe country” then I believe they are simply economic migrants who should be treated with dignity and immediately returned to their home country or ‘safe country’ they already transited through.
For obvious reasons, neighboring countries will likely sign agreements on how to deal with illegal migrants that transit through their countries and that is a whole separate discussion we are not going to get into here.
It seems clear to us that this is not a left or right, democrat or republican, liberal or conservative issue. Illegal immigrants bear the burden of proof that:
- they were at great risk in their home country
- they did not pass through a ‘safe country’
If they cannot do that in short order, they should be quickly returned. This does not mean they should be treated badly or ‘roughed up’. They are human being trying to make a better life for themselves and their children and they deserve BASIC human rights.
What Should Happen To Any Migrant Convicted of a Serious Offence?
If a migrant has not yet become a citizen and is convicted of a serious crime (we can argue over the definition of serious, but lets say a ‘federal crime’ like drug importation, murder… for the sake of the argument), it seems to me that the penalty should AUTOMATICALLY come with a “return to sender” requirement.
Personally, I would rather have a convicted drug dealer free in Nicaragua than in a Canadian prison, so even if the country of origin refuses to incarcerate that person, I still want them gone.
Trump, Clinton & Trudeau on Illegal Immigration
We hear President Donald Trump making very mean spirited comments towards both legal and illegal migrants. We will not comment on this beyond stating that controlled migration is factually and indisputably a good thing for economies.
Why Are Illegal Migrants Given So Much Time To Stay?
Let’s be clear that we are not addressing the issue of what to do with illegal migrants that have been in the country for many years without any serious non-immigration crimes. We are purely considering people that have crossed the boarder illegally within (say) the last year.
It seems there is a consensus amongst Trump, Trudeau and Clinton to send illegal migrants back quickly, so why is it not happening? There are three factors keeping illegal migrants from being returned:
- our bureaucracies are just too slow to deal with the influx
- This can be corrected with a combination of increased resources (which pay for themselves by decreasing the cost of keeping illegal migrants in the country), and fixing item 3 below
- many politicians and citizens will simply take the opposing view of their political rival
- We have all got to stop doing this. Just because Hillary Clinton says ‘black’, Republicans are NOT required to say ‘white’. That has been a formal and public strategy in the US since the Bush era, it is coming to Canada now, this tribalism will grind our governments to a halt.
- our current laws provide too much protection for illegal migrants
- We need to streamline our boarder immigration systems to empower the local staff to make decisions quickly during “rules based” hearings.
It is absolutely beyond our compression why some jurisdictions expressly forbid their law enforcement and government officials to require proof of citizenship for non-life threatening services (like schools, driving…). The notion of a Sanctuary City is particularly troubling in that those cities expressly invite those to stay who break important immigration laws and encourage future illegal migrants.
Where Unauthorized Immigrants Can Get Driver’s Licenses
Ten states and the District of Columbia allow unauthorized immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses using a foreign passport or birth certificate or evidence of current residency in the state. But most states require a Social Security number for a driver’s license, which unauthorized immigrants do not have.
From afar, it appears to us that these types of regulations have been introduced as a political response rather than a considered response.
If you want to come to our countries, we are very very happy to have you, but you need to go through the legal migration process. We think illegal immigrants are “queue jumpers” and should be sent home quickly.
What do you think?
Are We Racist or a Radical Anti-Immigration Supporters?
Now that we have stated our position, let us tell you our position on migrants. We need them in Canada and the US to expand our work force. Not because they do the work Canadians and American’s won’t (I always feel that is a dubious argument because for the right wage, natural born Canadians and Americans will do any job), but because our work forces are too small. The research is clear that, on average, migrants cover their own costs and the children of migrants flourish and contribute more financially to society than they consume.
For decades I have personally supported legal immigrants and refugees by:
- Publicly supporting them
- Providing serious donations of computer hardware (dozens of laptops went to the latest group of Syrian refugees)
- Providing financial support to those in need
- Allowing one migrant to live in our house for 18 months until he got his feet under him (work, permanent residency papers…)
So we are not anti-immigration or racist. We simply want to examine the issue based on facts and not emotion. If we can all think about this issue, we are confident we can come up with a much needed fix to our immigration systems.