The Conservative Government crackdown on (mostly European) immigrants who have overstayed their legal time in Canada continues apace, despite the fact that it will involve forcing Canadian citizens (the Canadian-born children of deported illegals) to leave the country as well.
Here is some information gleaned from the Portuguese Canadian National Congress submission to the "Cross-Canada Hearings on Citizenship and Immigration", which took place in March of 2005. Because of the skill sets possessed by Portuguese illegals (building and costruction skills), the current crackdown has particular relevance to that community, but I imagine a fair bit of the information applies to undocumented workers of other nationalities as well.
* The typical undocumented migrant from Portugal is a male between 20 and 45, likely to be unmarried with some secondary education. Because they tend not to have a post-secondary education, they are not considered "ideal immigrants". In fact, however, they tend to assimilate fairly quickly, gaining employment in line with their existing skill sets (often in the construction or home-building industry). This is something which is not as often the case with "high quality immigrants". Think of all the Indian doctors you've met driving cabs.
* The GTA has a population of about 5,000 to 9,000 undocumented construction workers (Portuguese and otherwise).
Imagine removing 5,000 to 9,000 hands from the local construction labor force. This is what the effect of the Tory crackdown will have on the GTA alone. The results are predictable: higher housing costs passed onto the consumer. Tories, being Tories, want to appear "tough" on illegal immigrants. But are they cutting off their nose to spite their face?
The full submission appears at the Portuguese Canadian National Congress. Enter the site and scrowl down about a half dozen items to "Federal government called to act...":
Portuguese Canadian National Congress
I'm not sure what political games Immigration Minister Monte Solberg is playing here. Officially, the amnesty for illegals contemplated by his Liberal predecessors is off the table and the whole issue is a "low" priority. I wonder however, if the Tories consider this a cheap gift to their political base. After all, while Portuguese aren't Arab and aren't terrorists, they are certainly more than a little swarthy, and maybe the goobers back in the farm belt can't tell the difference. Furthermore, most of them live and work in the Toronto area and so, from a Western Conservative POV, who gives a shit?
This whole situation reminds me of a joke overheard on Letterman back in 2003: the government can't catch Osama; Saddam is still running loose (which was true at the time); but they have managed to have Martha Stewart arrested.