Human-smuggling bust shouldn’t fuel border hysteria

In News by MIIC

A sign is seen near Emerson, Man. Thursday, February 9, 2016. Refugees had been crossing the closed border port into Canada at Emerson and authorities had a town hall meeting in Emerson to discuss their options. John Woods / The Canadian Press

In Saskatchewan at least, Canada’s leaky southern border might not be so porous after all.

On Wednesday, the RCMP announced it had foiled a scheme to smuggle nine foreign nationals into the country under cover of night between points of entry at North Portal and Northgate, in the province’s southeast corner. After a four-month investigation, in co-operation with border agents on both sides of the 49th parallel, the RCMP took the asylum-seekers into custody and laid human-smuggling charges against a 43-year-old Regina woman.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials later revealed three other people have been arrested in connection with the case — two Canadian citizens and one Nigerian citizen.

Many in this province had been wondering how long it would be before we joined our neighbours in Manitoba as a target for border-jumpers. Over the past few months, the town of Emerson — about five hours east of North Portal — has seen an unprecedented influx, reacting to the tough talk of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has threatened mass deportations of illegals.

Now that we know what we’ve long suspected — that Saskatchewan’s vast spaces and sparse population makes it a good spot to cross the border undetected — we need to take a deep breath and relax. This isn’t the time to fall prey to the hysterical xenophobia that politicians around the world have whipped up in recent months.

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