When you call something illegal, you have to be very specific about what you are referring to. You get into illegality on two fronts. The first involves the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. In those cases, a conditional removal order has been issued to claimants. All refugee claimants are inadmissible by virtue of the fact that they lack the necessary documentation. They do not have a permanent resident visa when they arrive in Canada and make their claim. Whether they make their claim in an airport, at a port of entry, or elsewhere, all refugee claimants are inadmissible on that basis. Since the act allows for and deals extensively with refugee claims, as a lawyer, I find it hard to qualify someone as illegal when they have initiated a refugee claim. Doing so is not illegal because the act provides for exactly that.
The second arena is the criminal sphere. The so-called illegal crossings at Roxham Road raise two issues.
First, entering the country at a location that is not a port of entry is not against the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which states that a claimant can enter Canada anywhere they choose as long as they proceed to a port of entry as quickly as possible.
Second, the Customs Act requires a person to enter only at a customs office, but the act is meant to regulate goods, not people. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act sets out the regime governing people. Very few people make a refugee claim with the intention of violating the Customs Act, in my view. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is really the overriding factor here. As I already said, the problem could easily be fixed by having claimants cross by waterways and lakes and arrive at customs offices. I think that....