Immigration: is it acceptable to go the illegal route?
Welcome to your new home!
A new immigrant or anyone contemplating moving to a foreign land longs to hear these words at the end of a long, meticulous, often tedious and a nerve wracking process whereby one obtains a Permanent Resident card (if you’re in Canada) or a Green Card (if you’re in the USA) which is really “the right to live and work in the new land without being deported” unless one is foolish enough and/or thankless enough to commit a crime.
Steps to Canadian Immigration
A Legal Process
Of course, it goes without saying that I am solely referring to a legal process which makes provisions for “legal” immigrants – be it applicants which includes the independent class and family sponsored class or refugees. Let’s define an illegal immigrant - a foreigner who enters a country without an entry or immigrant visa, who crosses the border by avoiding inspection or who overstays the period of time allowed as a visitor, tourist, or businessperson. I believe numerous illegal ways are used by unscrupulous people to obtain entry into the promised land; whether by manipulating and taking advantage of loopholes in the legal system or by simply allowing themselves to be smuggled in – either hidden or under false pretences.
Unqualified to apply legally
Whew! You have to wonder why these people put so much effort into unlawful methods and risk being caught, rather than walk the truthful path. From crafty travel agents to devious human traffickers – all eager to make money off of your dreams and desires; the dark path to the dreamland is just that – dark and frightening, beckoning tantalizingly, promising a lot – but often failing to deliver. It also happens to be the only hope of anyone who does not acquire the necessary points to qualify as an independent applicant, nor as a sponsored family member, is unable to pass off as a student, cannot obtain a work permit (this one is tough to get unless you’re in a high demand professional field). Even refugee status is unavailable to him as he really isn’t being victimized or ill-treated on account of his faith.
Not a candidate for legal immigration
Lets take the case of “Charlie” (real name suppressed) who landed in the US in the mid-eighties. I read this article many years ago with interest - Charlie is originally from India, the son of an average land owner in the northern state of Punjab, a school drop out, without good speaking skills, not very presentable, does not appear adaptable, with limited finances, and no family willing to sponsor him abroad. Could Charlie be a promising candidate for legal immigration? On the surface – no; without formal university education he loses points – big time. How about speech and communication skills? Loses points again – he can barely understand English, he is uncomfortable speaking the language, never mind passing an interview with an immigration officer.
Points for adaptability?
Lets take a look at the presentability factor and determine if Charlie can adapt to a new culture. Many aspiring immigrants, especially from the developing lands do not give much thought to this quality. And yet – there are points awarded at the time of an interview, proving it is very important to groom yourself, dress professionally and cultivate basic social skills. Besides why not present a bright, positive image of yourself instead of coming across as ill-prepared to handle the shock of a new culture and failing the adaptability test? For you can be sure of one thing – if you would like to work in the top industries in Canada/USA or anywhere else – you do need to appear self confident.
Recourse to dishonesty
So, clearly Charlie would not qualify as an independent immigrant. Without a sponsor, he would fail the family class category as well. Without adequate finances and a business plan, he would not be able to apply under the business category. Yet, the big Apple was his goal, his dream and destination; he began to look for ways he could get there and ultimately decided to go the illegal route. His “agent’ obtained a fake passport under a different name, got him a ticket to a European country, Charlie then flew to Canada under the assumed name. His final leg of journey involved riding inside a truck and being taken across the border into the big Apple.
It has been many years – Charlie is now a “citizen’ however has a new name, is married with a family, and owns a home. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to study or improve his skills – still drives a taxi, with no prospects of doing better in terms of career. This, in addition to a lifetime spent looking over his shoulder to avoid being caught. He is grateful that he was able to come here and now focuses on providing for his daughters. Was it all worth it? Charlie seems to think so. What about his adopted land? Like Charlie, millions of illegal immigrants cross the borders into Europe and North America hoping to realise their dreams – are these countries happy about supporting undocumented aliens?
Is Donald Trump so wrong then when he talks about putting measures in place to check this scourge? I don’t believe he means to keep out everyone from across the border – only illegal ones. And yet, the world seems to be going after him to have dared to raise this issue
Bypassing the legal system - is it fair?
And what do legal immigrants think about allowing illegal aliens to enter and remain in the country? I’ll tell you – it is not fair! As a legal immigrant into Canada, I went through many "checks" - educational, language, previous employment, security, medical, and paid for my visa to begin a new life. It took two years to process my visa - so why allow some people to bypass the essential steps?
The Legal Process - Worthwhile?
Absolutely! It enabled me to:
- realise a dream and become a part of my adopted land
- work and contribute to the nation’s economy
- become a part of its responsible decision making process,
- raise kids in a healthy, progressive environment
- explore new lands and cultures
- learn about the people that make up these lands
Many resources are available to guide you along the way – government websites, Embassies, Licensed Immigration consultants and lawyers, if you choose the legal path. The Illegal path is dishonest and criminal; lets never make it acceptable to remain in a foreign land under false pretences.