Deportations & Illegal Immigration
Q. I really enjoy your column and your insight. I am Canadian born and wonder who are these illegal workers? Why is there talk about giving them status?
A. There is no, single overarching definition to apply to persons known as non-status (illegal) immigrants. They could be either documented – meaning that they are known to Immigration – or they could be undocumented – meaning that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) have no knowledge of their presence or continued presence in Canada. Documented non-status immigrants could be legal, such as refugee claimants who are awaiting a decision; or illegal, such as rejected refugee claimants who have yet to leave the country or Convention refugees who did not apply for permanent resident status within 120 days or permanent residents who have lost their status and have not been removed. Illegal documented immigrants include rejected refugee claimants or Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) applicants or those who hold an expired work, study or visitor permit but have remained in Canada and gone “underground”. Undocumented persons are those who do not hold any identity documents, including people who were trafficked illegally into Canada for various purposes. Is There a Need for a Programme? Estimates on the number of undocumented persons range from 10,000 to 200,000 and as high as one million, a disparity which suggests that this may be a larger issue than many believe. A growing political movement is of the opinion that even the minimum estimate on the number of undocumented persons warrants action. Some lobbyists cite “billions of dollars in unpaid tax dollars” as the main reason why regularization should occur. Others, made up mostly of community advocate groups, say that the government needs to look more at the circumstances that surround undocumented persons and work at solving the root of the problem. Others still, maintain that the number of illegal workers has risen drastically only in response to immigration law and policy that does not respond to market conditions. For more information on the changes visit my website. Thank you for your question.