Wednesday, October 03, 2007

an honest question regarding refugees...

... because maybe I just have a wonky idea of peoples' levels of compassion.

If World War II was happening right now, and people escaping the holocaust had made it to the US - illegally - and were being turned away after successfully hiding there for a while, would you really be in favour of denying them entry to Canada?

And what about people who escaped communism? Should they have been sent back to be shot or starved or both, simply because they hadn't found their way to a part of the world where they were accepted right off the bat, or because they hadn't jumped through the appropriate legal hoops?

Would you really rather have sent people and their families back to Hitler or Stalin or such extreme poverty that otherwise healthy individuals (as opposed to the mentally ill, who are the only people in this situation in Canada) were freezing in their homes or starving in the streets than screw the paperwork, let them in and cut our refugee-related and social spending?

Neither of these examples are on par with the situation with Mexican immigrants, I know. They're not going to be gassed or shot (at least I certainly hope not), but it's the same principle, and if World Vision will let me sponsor little starving children in Mexico (or send them an alpaca!) I'm guessing that I'm not alone in knowing that the situation down there can be pretty dire for a lot of folks.


BBS said...

If religious or private groups want to sponsor economic refugees, then they should be allowed to do so. Other than that, there has to be some criteria. We simply can't accept everyone who shows up at Canada's borders. To adopt a policy like that would be throwing open the welcome mat to the approximately 11 million illegal immigrants currently residing in the US, just for starters.

Jess said...

That's not an honest question, as the people in question- Mexicans fleeing the US because they illegally entered there and are being properly deported- are not refugees. They meet none of the criteria for this classification. So, Canada and the United States have every right to refuse them entry.

Cranky or Just A Crank said...

I have to assume that you are throwing out your comments as debating points since there is no real comparison between the situations of the people.

The voyagers of the damned or the escapees from the gulag rightfully should have been welcomed since death or concentration camps was probably what they had in store for them.

The Mexicans are economic migrants that are looking for a better life. In Mexico certain life is tougher than in Canada but they wouldn't be risking their lives to stay there, and fill in their forms and legally wait until they are invited to come to Canada.

These people are trying to get into Canada now because they are illegaly in the US and may get deported. If they thought that this was such a great place, why didn't they try to come here first.

These people have already shown they have little or no respect for the laws of both Canada and the US, so why should we think it it a godd idea to sign them on permanently. I say permanently because the government has next to no success deporting Jamaican murderers, so there is little hope in getting some Mexicans out once they're here.

Janet said...

bbs - To adopt a policy like this would remove the status of "illegal" from immigrants. Stop paying them to come here and let religious and private groups help out people who come here (rather than tax dollars) and where's the problem?

jess - I was hoping to imply that the refugees from communism and Nazi Germany had immigrated illegally when I posed the question. I'll clarify my post.

BBS said...

I agree, the problem remains with the likelihood of this happening anytime soon. To achieve what you are seeking requires fundamental changes to our entire immigration system. It's impossible to "stop paying" refugees to come to Canada as they are guaranteed protection under Canada's Constitution and Charter the minutes they land on Canadian soil. In the short term, only the notwithstanding clause could achieve any meaningful change.