On Friday, a major Toronto newspaper ran a story decrying the deportation of honest illegal immigrants. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

When one talks about illegal immigrants, they usually do not picture a hard working, law abiding individual, but so far, the people that have made it onto the television coverage of the first group of foreign workers to be expelled from our country seem to be hardworking individuals and well adjusted families.

They remain, however, illegal immigrants. Those are people who are not legally entitled to be in our country. Whether they have stayed after their visas have expired or simply failed to leave after losing their refugee bids, they have no legal standing to stay here. Knowing this, how can we label them as honest? I am not attempting to mar the character of any of the individuals involved. To be sure, this must be a very painful time for them. But as illegal immigrants, they do not pay taxes. They do not contribute to our social programs. They have not entered the country as so many who wait in queue have. That is hardly the definition of honest, regardless of all of the other variables.

With the chronic shortage of skilled tradesmen in Canada, should we be expelling those who are willing and able to fill the demands of our construction industry? Probably not, but until the law has been changed, these people are still illegal immigrants and the government of Canada, regardless of political stripe, has a responsibility to those of us who pay taxes and to those who enter Canada in good faith through the proper channels.

As we have seen in our neighbour to the south, an illegal immigration problem left unchecked is disastrous. After several amnesties, in which illegal immigrants were given legal status, the problem didn’t improve but simply got worse. It seems that an amnesty is absolutely the wrong way to go. While it may fix the problem of piles of potential paperwork now, it simply encourages a new, larger wave of people to do the same as the last. After all, if the reward for being devious is citizenship, why do things the right way?

The press has been quick to film those families who have been picked to exit the country, but I would love to hear the reaction of a family that has been living in limbo for montsh or years waiting for acceptance into our land. They must feel vindicated after waiting so long by coming here through the proper channels. To see illegal immigrants deported makes room for more legal ones, and that is the way that things should operate.

The construction industry has been recently estimated to be almost 75% made up of illegal workers. That is the real shame. How many tax dollars have been lost through an industry that works mainly with workers who have no right to be here? How many unions have been taking dues from them? At the first chance, our construction industry, vital or not, should be investigated in depth. There obviously needs to be changes made.

In the U.S.A. this week, attempts to pass new legislation to curb the massive influx of illegal immigrants coming in from Mexico and other places has been met with mass protests in many major cities. There are now so many illegals in the U.S. that by some accounts, it has been estimated at 20 million. The reasoning behind many Americans joining the protest is that most of these people are hardworking, nice, decent people.

My friends, that is not the point in the United States, and nor is it the point in Canada. The point is that by entering another nation without the proper authority or permission, you are breaking the law. An amnesty, as some such as Joe Volpe have suggested, is simply wrong. It has been proven to encourage much more of the same behaviour and is a slap in the face to all who are standing in line.

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