Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The 41,000

As a second generation Canadian, I am a direct product of immigration. Were it not for a welcoming country, I probably would have been born into a repressive state -- if I had been born at all. Which is why I find so offensive the news that the federal government has not been able to keep track of 41,000 people who have been ordered deported. It is as if they have completely disappeared.

Of course, they haven't. They've just gone underground. The real numbers may be even higher.

This has been an ongoing problem, but for the Harper government to just dismiss this as "Liberal corruption" is once again to evade the issue. The buck stops with whoever is currently in power, and the Conservatives need to explain things.

Those who have no business being in Canada should be promptly shown the door after due process has taken its course. The fact people working their way through the immigration and citizenship process legally wind up paying for those who have outstayed our welcome or have abused the process is sickening.

Some of the problems, it seems, could be traced to bugs in a computer system. Aren't we supposed to have IT pros to work out those problems? While I have written previously in this column about my opposition to some of the reforms Diane Finley is trying to shove down Canada's throats, I do support getting tough on lawbreakers. The few who abuse the system make other immigrants look bad, and the last thing we need is to slam the door shut like the Lou Dobbs Klan are so hell bent on doing south of the border.

However, if it means integrating immigration and law enforcement -- such as with the UK's Home Office, or the Schengen Information System in much of Europe -- then so be it. Often times, we need to flag trouble makers before they enter the country, not try to track them down when often it's too late.

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