(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
Canada is on track to receive more asylum applications in 2018 than any previous year since the Immigration and Refugee Board started tracking this information in 1989.
This, after 6,465 asylum seekers submitted applications in October alone.
So much for immigration minister Ahmed Hussen’s assertion that the numbers were going down and that the Trudeau government had everything under control.
This year, Canada is on track to receive more than 55,000 refugee applications, compared to 50,385 in 2017 and 23,870 in 2016.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sent out his infamous tweet in January 2017 inviting the world’s refugees to come to Canada, and since then, 100,000 self-selected and unscreened migrants have taken him up on the offer.
Over 37,000 of these migrants crossed into Canada illegally along the US border. These asylum seekers fall outside Canada’s official targets for immigration and refugee numbers. This means Canada could accept more than double the number of refugees it laid out in its annual immigration plan submitted to Parliament.
The Trudeau government told Canadians we’d welcome 43,000 refugees in 2018; instead we could welcome more than 98,000 — most of whom have not yet been determined to be legitimate refugees, but will be given all the same benefits nonetheless.
There are now more than 64,000 migrants waiting in a backlog to have their cases heard by an immigration judge. It will take years, possibly a decade, to work through all these applications.
By the time some cases are ruled upon, the claimants will have already started a life and a family in Canada, making it nearly impossible to deport them. Others will have disappeared completely or fallen into criminal gangs and networks.
There is mounting evidence that Canada has lost control of its immigration program.
An increasingly large portion of migrants coming to Canada were not screened or vetted. They were not rescued from a war zone, nor were they selected based on merit or skills or to help contribute to our country.
Instead of helping the most needy, our refugee system today seems to be aimed at helping the most sophisticated opportunists — those who deliberately break our laws, jump the immigration queue and bypass our legal immigration system.
And we are deliberately rewarding this bad behaviour.
The Trudeau government has rolled out the red carpet, and from the moment these migrants illegally cross into Canada, the government holds their hand and treats them like they’re staying at an all-inclusive resort.
The RCMP at times look like hotel bellhops helping migrants with their luggage. Migrants register and are given ground transportation to the city of their choosing. They stay at expensive hotels — courtesy of the taxpayer — and receive immediate and free access to healthcare, education, language classes and generous welfare payments.
The Trudeau government is trying so hard to accommodate these migrants, they’ve created what economists call a moral hazard. The nicer we are and the more we give to migrants, the more migrants we’ll have arriving at our doorstep.
Through its actions and its programs, the Trudeau government is encouraging migrants to break our laws and jump the immigration queue.
Former prime minister Stephen Harper did an in-depth interview on Sunday with American conservative journalist Ben Shapiro. On the topic of immigration, Harper made the case for broad legal immigration that helps the economy and benefits all Canadians.
He had one caveat. “I have no time for illegal immigration.”
Many Canadians feel the same way.