TORONTO – This will only end in tears.
City Hall’s vote Thursday night to reaffirm Toronto’s status of “sanctuary city” further legitimizes a section of society that has chosen to live outside it.
Men and women who are euphemistically called undocumented migrants will continue to enjoy access to city services, underwritten by you the taxpayer, without fear of their status being revealed to authorities.
You know, those pesky authorities called border enforcement agents at street level and the Federal Department of Immigration at the national level.
The very people whose job it is to ensure that those living in Canada are doing so because they are legally entitled to rather than choosing to because the weather suits their clothes. Or their whim, their fancy or because it is all just too hard to return home and enter through the proper channels.
Like hundreds of thousands of legal migrants do every year.
Just why City Hall, with all the other manifest problems on its plate, has chosen to challenge Ottawa in this way is uncertain.
Still, that’s what happens when you have the politics of personal vanity trumping the natural rule of law.
If it feels good and panders to a vocal minority, then just do it, regardless that it also untethered to the facts.
Like this one. The single best thing to do for an illegal immigrant is to help them become legal.
That brings them into the broader community and within the protection of the law.
They won’t be exploited in the workplace, blackmailed, threatened, bullied or isolated because they live in the dark world of illegality.
To offer anything else is to give false hope because ultimately they will be found out. Then the tears will start when are they are shipped home, probably never to return.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong spoke against the motion Thursday. He said aiding and abetting those without documents is an insult to anyone using proper channels to enter Canada.
“We shouldn’t encourage them,” he said. “We shouldn’t help them. They are an insult to every immigrant who plays by the rules to get into the country.
“They are an insult to every immigrant who is waiting to enter the country legally.
“It sends a message to the world that it is OK to break the law to come to Canada and it says the City of Toronto is an accomplice to this lawbreaking.”
People who genuinely want to reside in Canada should show they intend to be law-abiding citizens.
The first step on that road is to seek protection under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
That is something the Federal Minister for Immigration made plain Friday when he expressed disappointment with council’s decision.
“Canada is an open and generous country,” Jason Kenney said. “All we ask is you respect our law … or go back to your country.
“If you want to come to Canada, get in the same line as everyone else. Make a regular visa application.”
Kenney touched on a fact often disregarded by those who would ignore the law and welcome every illegal immigrant who expressed a desire to tap into the full range of Toronto’s generous city services.
“Legal immigrants to Canada have very little tolerance of those who cut the queue and cheat the system.”
I am one of those immigrants.
Two and a half years ago my family made the decision to move to Canada and went through all the lengthy processes involved. That took the better part of a year.
We filled out forms, had medical and police checks, packed up our belongings and went through the entire, elongated process of moving to this great country.
We began paying taxes from day one and still do so. Gladly.
This is a generous nation as the minister points out, but it is only fair to those who want to come here legally not to reward those who think they can beat the system.
To do anything else makes Canada look generous … to a fault.