Do immigration laws matter more than human rights? Or lives?

Michelle Rempel, not giving a shit that people are losing fingers and toes (and very nearly their lives) to get to a safe country…which the United States of Amnesia no longer is. Between her and Tony Clement, there’s more than enough there to embarrass anyone who thinks Canada stands for human rights. Never tweet, you two.

Meanwhile, from the PMO, we get this:

Canada will continue to accept asylum seekers crossing illegally from the United States but will ensure security measures are taken to keep Canadians safe, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.


“One of the reasons why Canada remains an open country is Canadians trust our immigration system and the integrity of our borders and the help we provide people who are looking for safety,” Trudeau told parliament.

“We will continue to strike that balance between a rigorous system and accepting people who need help.”

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen also said Canada would continue to honor the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, which requires it to turn back refugees if they make asylum claims at Canadian border crossings with the United States. Refugee advocates have argued this drives asylum seekers to cross illegally at isolated locations, risking their lives in frigid weather.

Amnesty International and other groups are pressuring the Canadian government to abandon the agreement, arguing the United States is not safe for refugees.

The advocates are right on this one. Turning refugee claimants back for bullshit legalistic reasons will only force them to resort to illegal crossings. And it will keep them breaking laws, too, in an effort to elude the authorities, whom they now have good cause to fear. After all, who has the power to send them back to the now-unsafe US of A, to face the Drumpfite goon squads?

When that happens, our laws are no longer protecting anyone. They are exposing innocent people to a lot of potential violence. Maybe even murder. When our laws send people back to a “safe third country” where they are in danger of getting killed by gangs of fascist thugs, our laws fucking stink. Breaking them becomes not an outlaw’s choice, but a refugee’s necessity.

Look: no one walks across the border in a remote part of freaking Manitoba in the dead of winter, risking life and limb, for no good reason. These are people who’ve fled war and famine and dire poverty overseas already. They know fear and danger all too intimately. They have fled all that before, and now they are doing so again. That should give us all pause.

Instead of saying: “Oh, they’re breaking the law, that makes them CRIMINALS!” and flying into hysterics, it’s time to sit down and consider just why they are willing to break the law, flee the authorities, and live underground. It’s time to take a harder and less sympathetic look at the deplorables to the south of our border, and interrogate their xenophobia as mercilessly as if they were the fugitives. If they are so devoid of humanity as to drive other people out of country who have already fled famines and war zones, shouldn’t we be hesitant to send anyone back to run the gauntlet that is THEM?

And shouldn’t we be re-examining our own laws, and realizing that they need revisions NOW?

PS: And on a related note, the Beaverton — yes, a satire site! — really hits this one out of the park.

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