A Conservative government would work to strengthen the border and protect religious minorities, leader Andrew Scheer announced on Tuesday.

Scheer, in announcing the Conservative Party’s immigration policy plan, promised that his government would end illegal border crossings.

Scheer suggested the illegal immigration crisis can be addressed by closing a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States..

Scheer said the loophole undermines Canada’s immigration system, often to the chagrin of legal immigrants and bonafide refugees.

“[Legal immigrants] are the most offended at Trudeau’s status quo, where some are able to jump queues, exploit loopholes and game the system.”

True North’s Graeme Gordon has covered the plight of illegal border crossings extensively, finding that initial security screenings of illegal border crossers can take less than two hours.

Most of these border crossers are then transported to urban centres like Toronto, which have already received millions from the federal government to properly house them all.

In the last two years Toronto has spent $64.5 million of taxpayers’ dollars on asylum claimants.

One of Scheer’s other big immigration policy planks was to further increase protections for survivors of genocide and persecuted religious minorities.

To do this, Scheer promised to reopen the Office of Religious Freedom, an agency of Global Affair Canada which advocated for religious minorities around the world.

The office was started by then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2013 but closed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shortly after taking office.

Scheer specifically mentioned the plight of the Yazidis, which the Conservatives have strongly advocated for, as an example of a persecuted religious minority.

Yazidis, particularly women and girls, have been the target of extreme persecution since the takeover of their native Iraq by ISIS in 2014.

To close, Scheer took the opportunity to push back against claims that the Conservative focus on a strong border and well-managed immigration system is somehow motivated by racism.

“To ascribe those motives to those who simply want stronger security screening procedures or fewer people entering the country illegally makes a mockery of such hateful forces.”

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