The Parliament of Canada is considering a proposal before it to construct a border wall at the Canada–United States border to curb the high rate of illegal immigrants and smuggled goods arriving in Canada through the United States.
The Canada–United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest international border in the world between two countries.
According to the proposal read in Parliament, Canada has seen an uptick in illegal immigrants making asylum claims in recent years. “As of December 31, 2018, the Immigration and Refugee Board had accepted 14,790 immigrants, rejected 8,759 and had yet to process 71,675 claims of which 964 are citizens of the United States”.
Though the federal government has said it’s targeting 330,800, 341,000 and 350,000 immigrants from all countries in 2019, 2020 and 2021 respectively, it has added that stringent measures on the Canada-U.S border is needed not to outdo the numbers with illegal immigrants.
“Thanks in great part to the newcomers we have welcomed throughout our history, Canada has developed into the strong and vibrant country we all enjoy,” said Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC).
Hussen, himself an immigrant from Somalia, who presented the proposal before parliament, said Canadian officials have complained of drug, cigarette, and firearms smuggling from the United States with the numbers increasing annually.
Hussen added that, Cornwall, Ontario, experiences ongoing smuggling —mostly of tobacco and firearms from the United States —because of its location.
Eight Canadian provinces and territories (Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick), and thirteen U.S. states (Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine) are located along the border.
When the bill for the construction of the border wall is passed, additional security and immigration requirements would have to be met by travelers crossing through approved points from the U.S to Canada.
Canada is especially dedicated to offering protection to refugees but the proposal indicates that potential asylum seekers living in the United States would not be allowed entry into Canada unless they bear the necessary travel documents.
The United Nations Refugee Agency reported unprecedented levels of refugees in 2017, with the number of forcibly displaced people reaching 68.5 million.
U.S. and Canadian agents operate separately and together along the border. From 2007 to 2010, 147 people were arrested on the property of one Blaine, Washington bed and breakfast inn, but agents estimate that they catch only about 5% of smugglers. In July 2005, law enforcement personnel arrested three men who had built a 360-foot (110 m) tunnel under the border between British Columbia and Washington that they intended to use for smuggling marijuana, the first such tunnel known on this border.
A section of Canadians have for the past years proposed the construction of border wall at the Canada-U.S border. It is estimated that 96% of asylum seekers and immigrants to Canada arrive through the border, causing more harm to Canada than what is caused the U.S by immigrants arriving from Mexico.
The Immigration Minister argued that a greater number of Mexican immigrants end up in Canada.