Canada Has Its Own Ways of Keeping Out Unwanted Immigrants


If you want to understand why Canada’s immigration system works, and why its immigration rate has generated so little political backlash despite being so much higher than America’s, take a look at the surprising nuances of Canada’s immigration policy. That policy may be softer-hearted than America’s, but it’s also harder-headed. Surrounding the Canadian welcome mat is a bed of nails.

Canada’s immigration success thus far is not a liberal story or a conservative story—it’s both. If the country’s image appears to be entirely liberal, that’s largely because its methods of controlling immigration are simply quieter, subtler, and less obvious than America’s. It’s that commitment to policing immigration that has, paradoxically, sustained such high levels of support.

Since the late 1980s, Canada has consistently been a high-immigration country, at least relative to the U.S. As a result, the proportion of Canadians born outside the country hit 21.9 percent in 2016. That same year, America’s foreign-born population was 13.4 percent. That’s a record high for the U.S.—but it’s been 115 years since Canada’s foreign-born population was at such a low level. As Derek Thompson put it in his article analyzing how Canada has escaped the “liberal doom loop,” Canada’s floor is America’s ceiling.

So why has Canada managed to sustain popular acceptance and cross-party support for so much legal immigration? For one thing, the movement of people into the country has generally been so law-abiding and orderly as to be uncontroversial and barely newsworthy. Canada, unlike the U.S., is a country where nearly all arrivals come in through the front door, in the open, during daylight hours.

Almost everyone who immigrates to Canada has to first apply from overseas, and before they’re granted entry they’re subjected to extensive vetting by Canadian authorities. Those who make the cut have to wait months or years for their turn in line before being let in. Over the past 20 years, about 5 million immigrants chose Canada. But the vast majority only entered the country after Canada also chose them.

As for illegal and irregular immigration, Canadian governments from both ends of the political spectrum have worked—quietly—to ensure there is as little of it as possible. The unspoken underpinning of Canada’s otherwise welcoming immigration policy is a giant and assiduously maintained border wall.

Wait, what? Yes, Canada has a border wall—in a sense. In fact, it has five of them. Four are geographic, the fifth is bureaucratic. All have …read more

Source:: The Atlantic – Global

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