(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
By : Candice Malcolm
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Montreal this week, doing damage control and trying to address the crisis of illegal migrants walking into Canada.
And while Trudeau insists everything is under control, the situation on the ground in Quebec suggests the opposite. Over the past six weeks, 7,000 asylum seekers have been intercepted along the Canada-U.S. border in Quebec after entering illegally.
That’s just at one crossing, and these are just the folks who have been caught by the RCMP.
The total number of asylum claims received by the federal government so far in 2017 sits at 25,495.
We’ve already surpassed the total number of asylum seekers processed last year, and more than doubled the number of claims received in recent years.
In response, the Trudeau government has resorted to building large tent camps near the border and housing migrants in Montreal’s Olympic Stadium.
Once migrants begin receiving welfare payments, however, they are expected to move out of these temporary accommodations and into their own apartments.
Thousands of newly arrived migrants have therefore been lining the streets in Montreal, queuing up outside an Immigration Canada office. These migrants must register before they can begin receiving social assistance and welfare benefits.
A spokesman for Quebec’s minister of employment said that the provincial government will hand out welfare cheques to thousands of asylum seekers. The amount these migrants receive varies depending on family size, but the minimum monthly payment is $642.92.
On top of these cash payments, migrants also receive immediate access to a gold-plated healthcare program known as Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP). This program provides healthcare services above and beyond what Canadians receive. For instance, IFHP provides migrants with taxpayer-funded dental and vision care – services Canadians pay for out of pocket.
Normally, illegal migrants need to go through a lengthy screening process to determine their eligibility in Canada before they start receiving social welfare benefits.
But because of the swell of illegal entries, according to a Montreal spokesman for the U.N. High Commissioner on Refugees, these initial screening appointments are now being scheduled for January.
The federal government is therefore bypassing its eligibility requirement and handing out social welfare benefits before initial screening and vetting is complete.
Prime Minister Trudeau claimed that illegal migrants have no advantage over those who arrive legally, but this is far from true. For starters, Canada requires visitor visas for travellers coming from most developing countries, including Haiti.
To be eligible for a visa, migrants must meet a set of basic requirements. They must be in good health, have no criminal record and show evidence that they will eventually leave Canada.
Illegal migrants, by contrast, are...(READ MORE)