Opinions

Fourth Canadian sanctuary city offers safe haven for illegal aliens

Montréal is the latest Canadian city to announce their status as a sanctuary, which begs the question whether or not Calgary should follow suit.

Although criticised for being largely symbolic and carrying no legal standing, sanctuary cities make is so municipal police forces are discouraged, but not banned, from helping federal officers with immigration status checks. When a refugee or an illegal immigrant crosses into a sanctuary city they will have access to services without the fear of deportation.

“Diversity is our strength, and part of our DNA,” said Denis Coderre, mayor of Montreal, to the Montreal Gazette when asked about Montreal’s decision to become a sanctuary city. As a country that identifies as humanitarian and as a mosaic society, it’s important that we offer as many sanctuary cities as we can.

Following the chaos fuelled by the Trump administration down south, sanctuary cities are more important than ever. Shortly after 9/11, the Canada–United States Safe Third Country Agreement was put into effect. This agreement states that people seeking refugee status must make their claim in the first country they arrive in, either Canada or the U.S. This means that all the refugees from elsewhere in the world, whom are now fleeing from President Donald Trump, are technically unable to claim refugee status in Canada as they have already done so on U.S soil. Being welcomed into a sanctuary city is now the only way they can come to Canada.

For anyone who is concerned about the extra costs associated with supporting refugees, consider there are actually more costs associated with deporting them.

Deportation involves the arrest of an individual, followed by interrogation interviews and ultimately them applying for refugee status. It takes at least 45 days to prepare for a hearing, during this time, the asylum seeker is placed in jail, at great cost to taxpayers.

We should support these people. According to a study by Morton Beiser, an epidemiologist known for his research in immigration, 86% of the 60,000 refugees welcomed to Canada between 1979 and 1981 were working within a decade. They were actually less likely to use the social services available to them compared to existing citizens. Therefore, refugees are not a drain on taxpayer money they are indeed taxpayers themselves contributing to our society in a profitable way.

Despite government ventures appearing charitable, there is always a large profitable aspect to their decision making process.

Border patrol is the federal government’s responsibility. By not involving themselves in the status of refugees municipal police forces are subtly voicing their rightful opinion that it’s not in their job description. We as city taxpayers are not paying our local police forces to do the RCMP’s job.

When people hear the word, “illegal” it’s no surprise that they associate it with crime. Studies, however, have shown that crime rate is not negatively affected by immigration. According to Statistics Canada, in 2004, immigrants reported 68 incidents of crime per 1,000 people, compared with 116 incidents per 1,000 for non-immigrants. It makes sense why this is the case.

First of all, who in their right mind is going to commit a crime and thereby draw attention to themselves when they’re already considered an illegal immigrant? In the unlikely event that a crime is committed, the culprit’s citizenship will be immediately checked, whether they’re within a sanctuary city or not, and proper action will follow.

Without sanctuary cities crime rates as a whole among citizens could increase because victims are too afraid to come forward to police with complaints. This creates more organized crime as individuals begin to take matters into their own hands.

Human beings should be able to come forward without fear of punishment and /or deportation. We can assist the most vulnerable without compromising our own security, which is what Canada is all about. After all, the constitution protects all human beings within our borders, not just those of us whom have citizenship.

Did you know?

Fact 1:
The first two months of 2017 have been the highest number of refugees claims in Canada since 2011. A fifth of these claimants were caught crossing the border.

Fact 2:
Canada has had over 33,000 refugee claims, almost 40 per cent higher than 2016.

Fact 3:
1,134 of these asylum-seekers were intercepted by RCMP at the border.

Fact 4:
Toronto became Canada’s first sanctuary city in 2013.

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