Jacob Heilbrunn

Immigration Problems

Kite flying is being banned in Toronto. In Milliken Park, Afghan-Canadian families have been meeting to engage in kite warfare. Apparently, they attach metal and glass to their strings and try to slice each other's kites up. Locals are complaining that the park is littered with dangerous debris.

In British Columbia, where I'm vacationing, immigrant issues like this dominate today's Globe and Mail. 492 Tamil migrants, who traveled on the MV Sun Sea to British Columbia, are being held in detention. The Liberal Party is saying they should be treated leniently. Prime Minister Stephen Harper is having none of it. The fear is that some have links to criminals and/or terrorists. Plus the Canadians have good reasons to worry. They know that this shipment of migrants is a test case for traffickers in Sri Lanka--further boatloads will arrive if Canada doesn't pursue a hardline. Harper is right to state that he will "not hesitate to strengthen the laws if we have to."

Further on in the newspaper is an illuminating story about France by Susan Sachs. The French police are apparently dismantling the camps of Roma migrants and offering a plane ticket and 300 Euro or deportation.  According to Sachs, "Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux said police have uprooted 51 illegal Roma camps inthe past wo weeks and given 700 people expulsion orders. The government has vowed to clear out another 260 camps by the end of October. President Nicolas Sarkozy, in announcing the policy in July, called them eyesores and hotbeds of prostitution and trafficking."

President Obama should take note, and quickly. The immigration problem isn't confined to America. And even if he wants the issue to disappear, it isn't going away. It's not only Americans who are in an uproar over illegal immigration. Immigration is a global problem.