“I think that’s ridiculous,” said [Immigration Minister Jason] Kenney. “Paying a smuggler is an illegal activity. The government of Canada wouldn’t countenance facilitating someone paying their debt.”
About ten minutes later, the minister addressed the issue again.
“It’s quite legitimate for our lawyers to take that position,” he said. “We make no apology for ensuring that the law is enforced.”
That law, incredibly, allows for the incarceration of political refugees if they haven’t paid off the various snakeheads, coyotes and other traffickers who got them illegally into the country. Supposedly this will keep refugees from “going underground” to pay off their debts. But this makes little sense, since they may legally obtain work permits.
The sinuous Liberals say they’ll “examine repealing the rule.” Not good enough. Can that party never—ever—take a definitive, decisive stand on anything, even something as obviously outrageous as this? Must they always strive to be all things to all people?
The public policy implications are dire.
Aside from the fact that some refugee claimants may remain in jail forever on the public dime rather than making a useful contribution to society by obtaining legal employment, the current law not only permits, but actually demands, that criminals profit from their crimes. And in this case the government, using the compulsion of incarceration, is effectively acting like a collection agency for them.
So much for “cracking down on illegal human smuggling.” What’s next? Jailing working girls to make sure their pimps get paid?