Toronto welcomes 65 forgotten boat people
I always had hope,' says Vietnamese man who spent 18 years trying to get here
Mar 22, 2008 04:30 AM
The first of 65 Vietnamese "boat people" who languished for years in refugee camps after the West slammed the door, landed in Toronto yesterday, 18 years late for the start of a new life of freedom.
Thai Van Nguyen is just one of 2,200 lost refugees, all uprooted by a war that ended more than a quarter of a century ago. They were left stranded after the United Nations declared in 1990 they were no longer in need of protection. The declaration led the West to slam its doors, leaving people like Nguyen out of luck.
I just love how this reporter uses such loaded words as "slam" and "slammed" as in "the West slammed the door" to describe how the West stop accepting Vietnamese "boat people" as refugees after the United Nations no longer considered these people in need of protection. He could have wrote "the West stopped accepting" if he wanted to be objective but since he is writing another immigration puff piece objectivity must be discarded.
Nguyen, 56, arrived at a refugee camp alone in Palawan in the Philippines and ended up stuck; the former seminary student languished there as a stateless person for 18 years.
I may be wrong but it is to my understanding that refugees are expected make their claim in the first country of safety. Why didn't they make asylum claims in the Philippines? Why were they languishingly in a refugee camp in the Philippines for 18 years? Why didn't they apply for citizenship or was Canada the intended target from the get go.
Six other former boat people arrived earlier this month in Calgary and Vancouver, with 300 in total expected in the next few months, including some 85 in Greater Toronto.
All are supported by small sponsor groups who responded to last year's "Freedom at Last" campaign by Canada's 150,000-strong Vietnamese community.
Almost one million refugees fled Vietnam after the fall of Saigon to the Communist regime in 1975, and most of the refugees in the Philippines have been there since 1988.
They were at the tail end of the exodus, when the United Nations declared the Vietnamese were no longer in need of protection.
We shouldn't be accepting refugees the United Nations declares are in no need or protection. What does this say about those who really do need our help? Why are we granting asylum to people on "compassionate and humanitarian grounds" who don't need it when there are millions of people who really do need our assistance? The reason is that these people had the funds to get to Canada's shores while the others are too poor to do so. It costs money to get to Canada even as a refugee and this should beg questions as to who is really getting in as a refugee. Are legitimate refugees getting here or is our refugee system being abused as another avenue for economic immigration?