From the National Post.
Mexicans pour into Canada from U.S
Agencies brace for thousands more; 'Give us a chance,' one begs
Sarah Sacheli and Roberta Pennington, The Windsor Star
Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2007
For 15 years, Manuel Ortega was living his version of the American Dream in Florida.
He had steady employment, sometimes working as a detailer for local car dealers, other times as a forklift driver. He earned enough to buy a van and rent a house for his wife and three children. His kids earned good grades in school and played with the family pet, a Shih Tzu named Chaparro (Shorty). They were safe and kept out of trouble.
Ortega's dream, as he recounted it Tuesday standing outside a room at a Windsor motel, is now but a memory. He is one of an estimated 180 Mexicans from Florida who've rushed across the border and into Windsor to claim refugee status, fleeing a crackdown on illegal aliens in Florida.
Local agencies that work with refugees have been told to brace for 4,000 to 8,000 refugee claimants.
Ortega said his fear of being deported to Mexico intensified within the past three months as immigration officials became more visible on the streets and the incidents of deportation of his acquaintances increased.
When his American neighbour threatened to report him to authorities, he told his family to pack-up. They simply couldn't risk returning to Mexico, where he says he fears the powerful drug cartels, corrupt government and poor living conditions.
Note - The Ortegas are not convention refugees. They are just fleeing bad living conditions which, unfortunately, affects about 80% of the world's population. If the Ortegas reasons for seeking refugee status are legitimate then technically Mexico's 100 million citizens can make similar claims. This is unreasonable.
Immigration lawyer John Rokakis said seven Mexicans came through his door Tuesday with Legal Aid certificates paying for three hours of a lawyer's time. Monday he saw three others and had a steady trickle last week as well.
Few will have successful refugee claims, he predicted. "Of the ones I've seen there are maybe one or two that may have something," he said. One is a man who sought political asylum in the United States and was denied.
In the short term, the refugee claimants are the guests of city taxpayers. Some have U.S. bank accounts they can't access and others are destitute.
Teresa Piruzza, executive director of Ontario Works said, as of Monday, ten families and 18 individuals had applied for social assistance. "We're just starting to process them," Piruzza said of the applications.
Welfare currently pays up to $548 per month for individuals and $1,193 for families with two children under the age of 13.
The Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms allows refugees to collect welfare as well as full health benefits even though they are not Canadian citizens. This is all thanks to the disastrous Singh decision of 1986. A crafty immigration lawyer successfully argued that anybody on Canadian soil is protected by the Charter, citizen or not. A refugee has all the rights and benefits a Canadians citizen does except the right to vote. I have a problem with this. You should to. Your Canadian citizenship should be worth something.
Mexican refugees have a low acceptance rate, somewhere around 13% which is still too high. They are targeting Canada because this country has an international reputation of being the easiest country to get into in the industrialized world. The refugee claim allows them an appeal process that can take years. In the meantime they abuse our citizenship laws and have children born here in hopes that it will help their case. This is a scam and it costs Canadian taxpayers a lot of money.
Our citizenship laws and refugee laws need to be changed. They are wide open for abuse. I do not believe that every child born on Canadian soil should be given Canadian citizenship. That privilege should only be given to Canadian citizens. Our refugee laws are too lax and the appeal process is too long. And the Canadian government should use the notwithstanding clause in the Charter and end the inglorious legacy of the Singh decision. We need to regain control of are borders.
Don't expect change to come from the immigration idustry. This is from "five feet of fury":
The law office down my street that specializes in refugee claims recently hoisted a huge banner on the side of its building, saying "Spanish spoken here" (in Spanish, of course).
I despise immigration lawyers. I really do.