Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contracts out and we have to move on.
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
--"Deportees", Woody Guthrie
A little more then a month ago, I opened a post on immigration with the above quote from "Deportees" by Woody Guthrie. In that post I offered up as a solution to our countries' illegal immigration problem that we soften our restrictions on legal immigration and increase the penalties for employers caught hiring people not allowed to work in our respective countries.
In that post I also pointed out that Canada the United States are populated by primarily immigrants whose families have been here at most four hundred years. While that may seem like a lot to some of you, comparatived to other countries, it’s a mere blink of the eye. So where we get our rightful indignation about people coming to "our" countries is beyond my comprehension.
Given the recent paranoia and xenophobia guiding the decision-making process of most western governments these days, it's no surprise that most people's solution to illegal immigration is to build the walls around our countries higher (a la Israel) and pull up the drawbridge. Before anyone gets hot under the collar I should point out that is the prevalent attitude through Europe as well as North America, so I'm not picking on anyone in particular, yet. Although since European countries lack the land mass available in North America they have the excuse of worrying about overcrowding to fall back on.
In Canada, our immigration policy is geared towards ensuring we only get those who are either guaranteed jobs, have money, or have family that are willing to sponsor them. We are no longer willing to take people on speculation as immigrants.
Of course they can apply as refugees, but since this involves offering some proof that their life is in jeopardy if they are to be returned to their home country, unless they are on a United Nation's list of designated refugee countries, their chances are slim. How often if you're fleeing for your life do you manage to obtain paperwork like warrants for your arrest, or signed affidavits from your torturer?