|03-27-2006, 07:51 AM||#1|
Join Date: Aug 2004
Local Time: 02:46 AM
"A Civil Rights Movement Reborn": Immigration Debate Heats Up In Senate
yolland [at] interference.com
μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
|03-27-2006, 09:27 AM||#2|
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Toronto, Canada
Local Time: 01:46 AM
In Canada, we are in the early stages of awareness of this new conservative government policy as well. Harper just got in and already we're packing up hardworking, tax-paying, contributing skilled workers and families who have been here for years and sending them "back". The construction industry in the Toronto region relies heavily on these workers.__________________
Yet I don't see them rounding up criminals who are here illegally - they are just targeting the more honest people because they're easy to find and deport to satisfy immigration department quotas. I also wouldn't be surprised if our immigration department is still trafficking sex-trade workers from eastern Europe.
Deal with illegals, readers say
It's 'low-priority' for government
Mar. 26, 2006. 08:07 AM
Today marks the end of the line for the Ferreira family. With all avenues to stay in Canada exhausted — all those the family was ill advised to try — Joe, Elizabeth and their children, 18 and 21, are expected to board a flight to Portugal. The family lost a gamble that began when they decided to stay in Toronto illegally after a 1999 vacation, thereby embarking on a doomed dialogue with Immigration Canada from their place in the underground economy.
Theirs is an unfortunate tale and a cautionary one for those who spend thousands of dollars on bad-apple immigration consultants who advise (as in this case) to apply as political refugees from a country with a good human rights record. And they're not alone. As the Star reported last week, scores of other illegal immigrants, many of whom have worked for years in Canada, have received recent deportation notices in what is perceived to be a new climate of "rush, rush, rush" to get them out of Canada.
It's an issue that provokes strong opinions. The Star asked its online readers last week whether illegal immigrants "working in areas of labour shortage" should be given amnesty and the response was great. Respondents were split roughly down the middle, with slightly more arguing against amnesty — "What part of `illegal' do these people not get?" — than those who support the concept.
Many people sympathetic to the Ferreiras perceive a certain irony in years of paying taxes while being nudged out of the country. Some criticized a shift in thinking under "Heartless Harper," as one reader called new Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Others stressed that the role of undocumented workers in the underground economy is well established — the oil essential to a smooth-running machine. Noted one reader: "If it weren't for the Italians and Portuguese, where would the construction industry be now?"
What's interesting about these letters is that, whatever the viewpoint, they are thoughtful and well argued. People took time from busy lives to express their opinions. That, sadly, appears to be a distinct improvement on the record of the federal government in coming to grips with core immigration issues, despite criticism of the system over the years by, among others, Canada's own immigration ministers.
Nothing came of former immigration minister Joe Volpe's pledge to find a way to "regularize" undocumented workers. He ruled out blanket amnesty last year but promised to take other options to his Liberal cabinet colleagues. And, while Tory Immigration Minister Monte Solberg has been on the job only two months, it was not promising last week when he said that Volpe's red-flagged issue had "low priority" for his government.
Why is that? Canadians seem to think it's important, as evidenced by the letters to the Star. So do academics. At universities across Canada, ideas for reform percolate among professors who are frustrated with problems with an immigration system that seem important only when a case like the Ferreiras' hits the news.
Moreover, the underground economy and the relevant contribution of undocumented workers are real issues in Canada. Last year, the Canada Tax Journal reported the underground economy had grown from 3.46 per cent of GDP in 1976 to 15.64 per cent in 1995. It's not known how much of that growth is tied to illegal immigrants (as opposed to unreported labour by citizens and legal immigrants) but it might be an idea to find out, or at least get a clearer sense of the number of undocumented workers than Volpe's estimate last year of from 10,000 to 120,000 nation-wide.
Granted, the underground economy in Canada pales in comparison to the United States. It's estimated that 4 million people illegally cross the U.S.-Mexican border alone every year, with 25-30 per cent caught and deported by U.S. authorities.
The U.S. Congress is working to reform immigration laws. The public perception, buttressed by support in the House of Representatives for a fence along the Mexican border, is that Americans vigorously oppose all forms of undocumented labour. But that may not be the case, according to Harvard economist Ray Fisman. He argues that the reality is more "don't ask, don't tell." Americans understand the importance of off-the-books labour, he said.
"After all, you have to keep the kitchens running in New York City."
At home, Albert Berry, a developmental economist at the University of Toronto, finds "immigration issues to be one of the most controversial in our society," and finds it frustrating politicians aren't more attentive.
He thinks that immigration regulations are too often "cumbersome" and outdated, filling economic needs in society from a decade or more ago. There is a lack of planning. He says there are not enough on-the-ground experts in countries of origin, that people aren't given enough information about immigration and that too many political appointees are making the decisions. He said the problem is that "we don't spend enough money to create a system that works fluidly."
While economists differ on the contribution of undocumented workers, they are unanimous in calling for serious debate on the issue and clear policies.
|03-27-2006, 10:53 AM||#3|
Blue Crack Addict
Join Date: May 2002
Location: hoping for changes
Local Time: 01:46 AM
There's a huge controversy going on in Birmingham with the illegal immigrant situation. There was a Latino center in a suburb that was being used as a transportation hub for all Latino workers, including illegals. These guys were doing the work that no one would do, and they had the support of the local Catholic bishop and the whole Catholic hierarchy. The Latino center was called "The Cultural Center". About six months ago, it was closed down. The Catholic bishop wrote a polite but firm letter to the City Council of the suburb denouncing the shutdown. Hispanics in my parish were furious. I talked to my priest after mass that week and he wasn't happy. These people have got to work to support their families. It's dumb to send people who are willing to do these jobs to jail. They should become citizens.
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