Marva Barrow, Contributor
THE ISSUE of immigration has provoked strong opinions, which many of our readers will be given the opportunity to address over the course of the next few months in this weekly column on immigration issues.
Jamaican immigration to Canada has been a major phenomenon over the past four decades as thousands engage in seeking a better life outside of their country of origin. Jamaicans abroad either take pride in making a distinguished name for themselves or fail to capitalise on Canada's strong socio-economic benefits. Although Canada has experienced its lowest crime rate in 25 years, there is currently a dangerous escalation of gunplay and fatal shooting incidents which are perceived to be strongly con-nected to the Jamaican community.
"When me check it out lawd ... no whey nuh betta dan yard!" is a cliché that holds true to over 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States and the 11,000 undocumented illegal immigrants set to be deported this year from Canada under the new Canadian government, many of whom are Jamaicans.
Contrary to the new government's belief, deportation is not the solution to the wave of black-on-black violence that has stigmatised Jamaican immigrants or children of Jamaican immigrants.
REHABILITATION AND AMNESTY
Furthermore, several Jamaican immigrants have become criminally inadmissible to Canada by simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time. These individuals have claimed ignorance to the need to obtain the security of their Canadian citizenship and have become the subject of deportation due to their status in Canada, the nature of the offence and the length of their sentence.
Ultimately, Jamaican immigrants who are considered hard-core gangs continue to be affected by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), which took effect on June 28, 2002. Under IRPA, permanent residents have no right to appeal a deportation order if sentenced to a term of imprisonment of at least two years in Canada.
Joe Volpe, former Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), promised to use alternative measures to combat undocumented immigrant workers. However, thousands of illegal immigrant workers found no refuge in this promise. The long anticipated hope of a blanket amnesty from the new CIC Minister, Monte Solberg, does not appear to be forthcoming. Instead, thousands of illegal immigrants in Canada have been the unhappy recipients of a high volume of deportation notices since the recent elected government considers the issues of illegal immigrants as "low priority".
With over 700,000 immigrants waiting in line to migrate to Canada, how can issues surrounding illegal immigrants who helped to build Canada be considered as 'low priority', one may ask. The majority of immigrants in Canada today were at some time during the past four decades illegal, prior to becoming productive permanent residents and upstanding citizens. Why were they allowed to remain to build Canada while so many others who contributed excessively currently face deportation?
Read next week's article to get a better understanding of how to re-enter Canada legally after deportation.
In fall 2003 Citizenship and Immigration Canada implemented an arms-length body to CIC called the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants (www.csic-scci.ca) in an effort to regulate immigration consultants who for years caused many illegal immigrants to suffer as a consequence of being ill-advised. Some illegal immigrants exhausted all avenues of becoming legal and continue to live, work and contribute to Canada's economy for well over two decades. Surely, they deserve much more than political promises!
Marva Barrow is the president of Barrow Int'l Immigration Solutions and is a member in good standing with the Canadian Society of Immigration Consultants and the Canadian Association of Professional Immigration Consultants. She can be reached at 416-850-8318. Send direct confidential questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.