An important, if unsung, benefit of Trump’s immigration policy: It just might restore the conservatives to power up north.
Granted, Canadian conservatives are nothing like American conservatives. Their conservative party is typically led by people who favor big government and universal health care, whereas our conservative party is led by, er…
Anyway. Canadians are getting tired of Justin Trudeau’s open-door policy for refugees from the United States:
Canadians appeared to be just as concerned about illegal immigration as American, according to the poll, which was conducted between March 8-9. Some 48 percent supported “increasing the deportation of people living in Canada illegally.”…
When asked specifically about the recent border crossings, the same number – 48 percent – said Canada should “send these migrants back to the U.S.” Another 36 percent said Canada should “accept these migrants”…
Of those polled, 46 percent disagreed with how Trudeau was handling the situation, 37 percent agreed, while 17 percent did not know. In January, a separate Ipsos poll found 59 percent of Canadians approved of Trudeau, while 41 percent disapproved.
Asked whether the influx of immigrants will make no difference to Canada’s security or will make the country less safe, Canadians split narrowly at 46/41.
There was a glut of news stories after Trump’s inauguration about people in the U.S. heading for the border through bitter, sometimes dangerous winter conditions to try to make it to Canada. The media loves an “evil Trump” story, after all, and reports of refugees risking frostbite or death to flee Trump’s America fit the bill nicely. (Maclean’s described the refugees’ route north as an “underground railroad.”) Border-crossers interviewed by Reuters in Canada insist that they were in the U.S. legally but feared that their asylum applications here would be quashed by the Trump administration, so they made a run for it. What’s making the trip extra risky for them is a 2004 agreement between the two countries that prevents people from seeking asylum if they enter Canada from the U.S. through legal points of entry like border checkpoints, airports, and train stations. Asylum-seekers from abroad are required to apply in whichever country they enter first, to prevent “asylum shopping.” However, if they enter Canada illegally from the U.S., like, say, through some Minnesota farmer’s fields abutting the Canadian border, then they can surrender to Canadian authorities and seek refugee status. Result: A perverse incentive that encourages people heading north to choose a more dangerous route.
Whether that 2004 agreement might be revisited to allow asylum-seekers to enter through legal means is an interesting question. The White House, I take it, is all for it; if immigrants want to decamp en masse for Justin Trudeau’s dewy-eyed embrace, have at it. As of last month, Trudeau was still insisting that the country would accept these border-crossers, no doubt under pressure from the left to amend the 2004 treaty to let immigrants from a Trump-led America enter Canada legally. But today’s Reuters poll might throw a wrench into that, especially with the weather warming up and the illegal routes north no longer as foreboding as they were in winter. In fact, Canada is slated to accept just 7,500 refugees this year, less than half the number they accepted last year. Even a liberal government in a liberal country isn’t immune to immigration politics. Trudeau can read the news dispatches from Europe as well as you or I can.
Here’s Trudeau telling Tom Brokaw a few days ago that “diversity is a great source of strength” — before adding that the asylum process takes a long time for good reason, “because Canadians understand how important it is to bring in people who can be integrated and succeed.”