There is an article in the Financial Times that ties into my thoughts on our government’s pathetic response to the illegal migrant problem. Nigerian migrants, detained in a camp in Bavaria are rioting as they seek freedom. ““We are tired of living in camps,” the sign said. “Please, we need transfer.” These words were held aloft this week by a group of angry Nigerians protesting living conditions in a migrant holding centre in the southern German town of Manching that is at the heart of a raging debate about refugee policy,” the article says.
““A lot of people go crazy in this compound,” said Kelvi Batin, one of the demonstrators. “You’re stuck here for eight months to a year, and then they tell you you have to go back to your country.”“
The article goes on to say that “Daniel Waidelich, a Bavarian government official, observed the protest from behind a security cordon. “These people want out. They want flats in the towns, even when they’ve been denied asylum,” he said. “That’s just not going to work.”“
That’s the issue: most of the migrants who cross into Europe and into Canada are not refugees and they are not suitable immigrants. They want a better life … I understand that. They assume that, somehow, we, in the West, have found the secret to a good, safe, prosperous, generous society and that we are obliged to share it with them … I understand that, too, even if it is only partially true. We have found that secret, it took us 1,500 years to get the right mix of Greek ethics and Roman legalism and Scandinavian liberalism and to adapt it to a half dozen diverse cultures and create the Euro-American “West” that, today, dominates the world from London to Melbourne and back through Singapore, New Delhi, Tel Aviv and Zurich all the way to Amsterdam and Oslo. We want to share that secret with others but we have not yet found a way to transplant it into Algiers, Baghdad, Cairo and Dakar. Many Nigerians, for example, tired of waiting for the legacy of British colonial rule to make their resource rich country into a black Japan, have decided it is better to move to where the good, safe, prosperous and generous society exists … but we cannot cope with a huge influx of people who are, in most cases, not willing or able to adapt to our cultural norms and who, quite simply, are neither needed (for our future prosperity) nor wanted here (despite our rhetoric). The Germans, amongst the most generous of Europeans, have had enough and, as the article says, the Manching transit camp “is the face of Germany’s tough new approach on immigration. Residents are cooped up here for months with little to do and minimal contact with the outside world, unable to work or learn German …[then] … If their asylum request is rejected, they are deported directly from Manching to their homeland. Some 3,500 have been sent home since the centre was opened in 2015 — 1,000 forcibly …[and] … Now plans are afoot to replicate the Manching model across Germany. Horst Seehofer, the interior minister, oversaw the creation of facilities like these as leader of Bavaria. He will soon unveil plans to build at least 40 so-called “Anker” centres — based on the German words for arrival, decision and repatriation — throughout the country.” This is, I believe, what Canada needs to do:
- Round up every person who has crossed the border improperly;
- Concentrate them in several safe, secure transit camps where they will be housed, fed, given adequate medical care and where children will be educated; and
- After those who are deemed not to be refugees (that will be 99%, I think) are properly classified, deport them either back to the USA or to their homelands.
I know the question …
… the answer has to be that we face only two options. Either:
- We allow illegal migrants to roam freely making them almost impossible to round up and deport when, as expected, the overwhelming majority turn out to NOT be refugees; or
- We detain them in safe, secure transit camps until each case can be heard and decided according to law.
Option one days, essentially, that we cease being a nation of laws and we become some sort of “open” society where anything goes … except for the rule of law.
Option two says that we are a grown-up, liberal democracy that put the needs of our own people first.
I have been intentionally provocative in recent posts by using the term “concentrate,” because it means to gather together. We need to get past the word and make simple decision: do we reward people who flout our laws just because we don’t like a word? Or do we insist that our laws must be respected in both letter and spirit. Our laws say that everyone who sets foot in Canada, no matter how, is entitled to the full protection of the law … that’s fair and good. Our law doesn’t say that everyone has to be allowed to roam about, freely, while they are waiting for their cases to be adjudicated.
Right now the Trudeau government is looking at setting up “triage centres” at border crossing sites in order to send illegal migrants to provinces other than Quebec … it wants, in other words, to ignore the real problem and, instead, spread the illegal migrants out across the country so that they will be harder and harder to find. That’s not leadership, that’s just passing the buck.
It’s not Prime Minister Trudeau’s fault that our existing laws have a huge loophole that allows, even invites abuse … but it is his job, now, to plug that loophole to stem the tide of illegal migrants and, then, to figure out what to do with the ones who are here. That’s what a real leader would do: identify the problem, fix the problem and clean up the mess that the problem created. My suggestion is to round them up and hold them in safe, secure transit facilities until we figure out where they should, each, individually, end up. Maybe there’s a better way … maybe, but doing nothing is not it.
Caveat lector: I support Prime Minister Trudeau’s immigration objectives which include increasing the number of legal immigrants who enter Canada to about 300,000 each year. I support increasing the emphasis on the family unification process. The devil is, always, in the details, but, broadly and generally, I am with him on immigration. But this is not a matter of immigration, it is a matter of illegal migration and fake refugee claims … there are hundreds of thousands of potentially valuable, always desirable immigrants waiting, patiently, in the queue in China and India and in the Philippines and in Fiji and Malaysia and in Sri Lanka, too. They are frustrated by the delays but they respect our laws. The people streaming across our borders have no respect for our laws or us … they just want to take a share of whatever it is that they think we have without giving anything in return. We don’t want any of them. They are not needed here. Maybe a tiny handful, say 1%, are legitimate refugees … OK, we have to take them in, it’s our legal and moral duty … 1% or so, not the rest.
There may be better solutions than transit camps … but, what are they? How many Canadians are content with Justin Trudeau’s inaction? Who will emerge as a real leader and propose useful solutions?