So some 490 self-selecting, queue jumping, economic Tamil migrants from Sri Lanka are about to game the most gullible and generous refugee system in the world this time by sea. This isn't the first time Sri Lankan Tamils have tried this. The first attempt was in 1987, two years after the Singh decision was passed. It is important to note that because the Singh decision is the reason Canada is the prime target for bogus asylum claims.
The Singh decision was a judicial ruling in 1985 prompted by a lawyer representing six Guyanese Sikhs who failed in their asylum bid to stay in Canada. To stay deportation they challenged Canada's asylum laws and successfully argued that they enjoyed full protection of the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and should be subjected to its statutes, since they are in Canada after all, and not by international treaties that Canada has signed respecting refugees. This was based on one poorly chosen word in the Charter: "everyone". The Charter states that "everyone" in Canada is protected by it whether he or she is a citizen or not. What this means is that anyone in Canada can enjoy all the rights and freedoms of a Canadian citizen except one thing; this one thing is the right to vote because the Charter specifies that this is the exclusive right of a Canadian citizen.
This is where the Charter has failed us as Canadians. By extending Charter protection to anyone in the country irrespective of legal status the Singh decision has effectively undermined Canadian sovereignty by removing legal mechanisms that the government can employ to enforce the nation's borders and control the inflow of people. It accomplished this by denying us the right to turn anyone away at the border if they say the magic word: refugee.
Prior to the Singh decision Canadian asylum law was largely guided by the legal framework of the UN Convention on Refugees. As a signer to the Convention Canada could turn someone away if it is assumed that they are asylum shopping, if internal flight is a possibility or if they made their passage to Canada via other safe havens especially countries that are cosigners to the Convention. The Singh decision did away with all of that since it extends Charter protection to anyone on Canadian soil. Now anyone who makes a refugee claim on Canadian soil is granted due process in the Canadian legal system for to deny them that would be a violation of their Charter rights even though they are not citizens.
The results have been detrimental to the integrity of Canada's asylum system. Canada can no longer turn anyone away so long as they make a refugee claim even if they arrived from a cosigner nation to the UN Convention on Refugees. This is why Canada could not turn away asylum claims at the Canada/U.S. border even though the U.S. is a signatory nation to the UN convention. Indeed, the United States is one of Canada's top refugee producing nations due in part to deserting U.S. soldiers but mostly due to illegal immigrants in the United States bringing their American born children to Canada to make a refugee claim.
The United States has been a conduit for many seeking to game Canada's new asylum rules thanks to the Singh decision. It has been reported that half of all asylum claims made in Canada by Sri Lankan nationals has been at the Canada/U.S. border.
But the United States has been affected to. Many would make an asylum claim in Canada only to disappear once released into Canadian society. I have read that almost half of all Chinese refugee claimants in Canada disappear allegedly having been smuggled into the U.S. Others, like Ahmed Rhessam who got into Canada as a refugee, sought to take American lives. It should be noted that Ahmed Rhessam almost got away with it thanks to Canada. It was a suspicious U.S. border guard who saved the lives of many Americans.
In order to deal with this Canada and the U.S. initiated the "third safe country" treaty. This treaty allows Canada and the U.S. to turn away asylum claims back to either Canada or the United States and to make their asylum claim there. However this is a band aid solution since the real problem is the Singh decision.
The Singh decision is an embarrassment to Canada and has affected diplomatic relations. Instead of going to the root of the problem Canada choses instead to slap visa restrictions in reaction to influxes of what are believed to be bogus asylum claims. This is what recently happened to Mexico and the Czech Republic. Canada insulted the citizens of these nations by punishing them with visa restrictions in order to address the asylum system abuses Canada was being subjected to by the relatively few people from those countries.
As I already mentioned the Singh decision grants all rights and freedoms to anyone on Canadian soil except the right to vote. It also grants all the entitlements of Canadian citizenship to refugee claimants. These entitlements include full health care, social assistance (welfare), business and student loans, language training, skills training and job placement.
On top of that one can exploit an appeals process that can take years to conclude if at all. Henri Jean-Claude Seyoboka, a Rwandan refugee accused of inciting genocide, has been fighting deportation for 13 years. Mahmoud Mohammed Issa Mohammad is sill in Canada even though the government has tried for years to deport the man who has been in Canada long enough to have grand children. These men are completely inadmissible to Canada and unworthy of Canadian citizenship yet we cannot remove them.
The ultimate reward the Singh decision bestows to its successful abusers is Canadian citizenship. Technically a refugee is only seeking temporary refuge with the intention of leaving at a future date. However we have it here in Canada that they can become permanent residents. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it is when a refugee needs neither pertinent job skills or a decent command of one of Canada's official languages. A completely illiterate, unskilled, idiot can become a Canadian citizen through the refugee system. And so the asylum system has been the choice avenue for those with no pertinent job skills or language skills to enter Canada. These are people who have no chance at being accepted as principal applicants but want entry to shopping mall Canada. Indeed, filing a refugee claim has been the Hail Mary pass for many wishing to extend their stay in Canada as per the advice of many unscrupulous immigration consultants.
Thanks to the Singh decision Canada has developed the international reputation as being a soft target for immigration scams. Everyone in the world knows that if you are going to game a refugee system Canada is the place to do it. Canadian hubris blinds us to this fact. What we call compassion others see as naivety (but mostly stupidity). Official Canadian figures even attest to this. Almost half of all refugee claims are considered bogus. I suspect it is even higher, a suspicion I feel is shared in official circles but we allow them in anyways mostly for quota purposes and to give the appearance that Canada is committed to refugees. Think about it. What legitimate refugee has the means to get a passport, lingers in their country long enough to obtain that passport from the government that is persecuting them, has the funds to afford a plane ticket to make a targeted asylum claim in Canada, the freedom of movement in their land of persecution to get to the airport, and then pass airport security to board the plane? It's totally absurd.
The costs are burdensome as well. It has been revealed that it costs taxpayers $30,000 a year to process a claim, legitimate or not. The UN spends about $3 billion a year on refugees. Do the math.
Though the arrival of bogus refugees arriving by boat is attention getting we have to realize that the overwhelming majority of refugees arrive in Canada by plane. There are an estimated 250,000 +Sri Lankan Tamils in Canada and I don't think they all arrived by way of sea.
The Singh decision needs to be revoked by use of the notwithstanding clause allowed in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It allows for and rewards abuse of the asylum system. It offers full Charter protection to non citizens thus making it difficult to deny them entry to Canada if they make a refugee claim and it makes it difficult to remove them if they are found to be inadmissible. It grants entitlement of citizenship to non-citizens such a health care and social assistance. It is the stepping stone to Canadian citizenship for those who bring no job skills with them yet face no real persecution in their native country. It invites and rewards bogus refugee claims since it allows immediate entry into Canadian society at the utterance of a single three syllable word. It has not improved Canada's asylum system. It has made it unmanageable and unenforceable. Above all it is an affront to Canadian sovereignty.