Trudeau Liberals call Canada an ‘open country,’ say illegal immigration is a ‘minor issue’

Immigration Minister Marc Miller called illegal immigration a ‘minor issue’ as Canada is surrounded by oceans, the U.S. and ‘a block of ice.’ In 2018, failed asylum claims by illegal immigrants cost taxpayers as much as $33,700 per person.

Trudeau Liberals call Canada an ‘open country,’ say illegal immigration is a ‘minor issue’
AP Photo/Edgar H. Clemente
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The Department of Immigration is radio silent after Immigration Minister Marc Miller called Canada an “open country” for foreigners.

“There is no doubt that we have made a conscious decision to be an open country and a country that needs to grow,” Miller said in a March 27 interview with U.S. National Public Radio. “The reality is we don’t have much of a choice.”

During the interview, he called illegal immigration a minor issue as Canada is surrounded by oceans, the United States and “a block of ice to the north.” 

However, Miller’s remarks did not align with the reality on the ground.

According to the budget officer, 2018 figures pegged the cost of failed asylum claims by illegal immigrants as high as $33,700 per person depending on lengthy appeals. 

The Immigration and Refugee Board at the time had a backlog of 65,000 appeals stemming three years.

The Budget Office in a 2018 report Costing Irregular Migration Across Canada’s Southern Border said federal expenses averaged $14,321 per illegal immigrant, reported Blacklock’s Reporter

“Per migrant costs are projected to rise over time,” wrote analysts. “This is largely due to longer projected wait times for migrants to complete the entire asylum claim process.”

Miller’s interview also took place six weeks after the Commons voted 173 to 150 to revise current immigration quotas. In 2023, Canada accepted 471,550 immigrants, 982,880 foreign students and 766,520 temporary foreign workers.

In an interview with the NPR program Freakonomics Miller boasted Canada’s population had reached 40 million, reported Blacklock’s Reporter

“So you’re California now?” asked the host. “Yes, basically, without the vineyards — well, maybe a couple,” replied Miller. “British Columbia might disagree.”

“This is about sustaining Canada as we understand it today and the health services, social services that our older generation expect, those that have built Canada,” he said. “That is not doable without people coming in from abroad.”

Miller then minimized the impact of illegal immigration on Canadian taxpayers. “Geographically it’s difficult to reach Canada,” he said.

Accommodation costs for illegal immigrants and refugee claimants last year cost $769 million, according to testimony from Immigration Officials last December 7 at the Senate national finance committee. 

“Where are you putting these people?” asked Senator Larry Smith. “Leases with the different hotels,” replied Nathalie Manseau, chief financial officer for the department.

“People have illegally crossed the border into Québec, Ontario, British Columbia and my home province of Manitoba,” Conservative MP Larry Maguire earlier told reporters. 

Miller justified the costs as “Canada prides itself on the value of our differences and the diversity.”

Requested by Maguire, the 2018 figures did not include expenses incurred by cities and provinces. “Provincial budgets have been stretched thin and are now in the hundreds of millions of dollars to pay for social services,” said Maguire. 

“Cities have declared housing emergencies, homeless shelters are full, and millions have been spent on hotel rooms,” he added.

Parliamentarians have been repeatedly stonewalled by Liberal members of Parliament on the costs incurred by taxpayers. “We finally have those numbers and they are staggering,” said Maguire.

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