Canada must find a way to shelter those in need and secure its borders

For generations, Canada has been a place of refuge and opportunity to thousands of people. As a first-generation Canadian, I know just how welcoming this country has been. My grandparents and their children, including my mother, were a family of mixed race that escaped communism in the 1950s. My father moved here as a young adult and found opportunity and my mother.

Our reputation as a sanctuary is well-earned. But our immigration and refugee system must follow a thorough process. When we embraced thousands of Syrian refugees, it was carefully planned out. We can’t simply guard the front door but leave the back gate wide open, as we are now doing on the U.S. border, watching thousands of people cross illegally on foot, avoiding the proper channels and overwhelming the system.

The message to migrants in the U.S. cannot be: don’t follow the rules. The answers aren’t easy but the federal government must find a way of both providing shelter to those who need it most while securing our borders and maintaining protocols. We must be more than welcoming. We must also be fair and judicious.

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