Law enforcement officials are alleging that an official in the B.C. government has been selling racetrack licences and work permits to illegal immigrants from Mexico.
Two weeks ago, as a part of their investigation into this matter, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) conducted a large raid at the Hasting Racetrack in Vancouver. According to a law enforcement source who spoke to the Sun, 23 people were arrested.
An employee of the racetrack confirmed to CTV News in B.C. that they saw about two dozen people getting arrested at around 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 19.
Another eye witness told CTV that “Immigration [officials] came through and arrested all the Mexicans, looking for illegal immigrants.” Of the 23 arrested, 16 people were released on a bond and ordered to appear in court at a later date, while seven were kept in police custody.
The lawyer representing the seven workers said she was told her clients paid between $600 and $1,000 for the fake work permits.
According to the source, who spoke on background because they are not authorized to speak to the media, these seven people were held in custody because they have a history of illegal immigration in Canada.
“They either have a track record of being in Canada illegally and were deported in the past, or there was some kind of red flag in their file,” said the source.
The B.C. provincial government has confirmed that the arrests stemmed from an internal investigation into one of its own employees. The employee was allegedly selling racetrack licences to illegal immigrants whom did not have proper work authorization in Canada.
According to the source who spoke to the Sun, the employee has been suspended with pay during the ongoing investigation.
Authorities suspect this could be happening at racetracks across Canada.
High ranking officials in the B.C. government, including the current NDP attorney general and the former Liberal finance minister, are now arguing over the genesis of this investigation, with the NDP claiming it raised concerns in 2016 with the former Liberal government, while the Liberals deny this accusation.
This story, which has yet to be reported in the national media and is being treated as a local story in B.C., raises many questions about immigration security and Canada’s approach to dealing with illegal immigration.
For instance, why were these migrants buying fake permits rather than simply coming through the legal channels? Canada has specific work visas for temporary and seasonal workers; tens of thousands of Mexicans come to Canada legally each year to work during the summer months.
Were these workers duped by a corrupt official, as immigration advocates are now claiming, or were they inadmissible to work in Canada and so they instead opted to come through illegal channels?
In this instance, more than half of the workers arrested in the raid were released and ordered to return for their court date, but how many will actually show up?
The law enforcement source told the Sun that illegal immigrants who are released until their court date routinely fail to show up for their court hearing.
CBSA union boss Jean-Pierre Fortin recently said that many of these folks simply “disappear,” and that the CBSA simply doesn’t have the resources to track them all down and deport them.
Canada is struggling to deal with the ongoing crisis of illegal immigration, and this story shows just how far-reaching the problem goes.