Madam Speaker, illegal immigration is becoming a big problem in Canada.
A recent report given to the federal government has indicated that as many as 16,000 illegal immigrants are entering Canada every year with the help of smugglers. Whether they are entering the country by boat, on land or through the air, the number of illegal immigrants passing the borders and coming into the country is costing the Canadian taxpayer an enormous amount of money.
Whether it be in the processing of false immigration claims or in the fighting of organized crime in which a large number of illegal immigrants are involved, the money being spent in relation to this problem continues to grow.
The trafficking of illegal immigrants is becoming a profitable business and furthermore an international business. Smugglers have set up syndicates for these types of operations in countries around the world.
This demonstrates how vast the problem really is and how much of a global dilemma it is becoming. Not only should we deal with the problem here in Canada but the issue should also be dealt with internationally.
The costs that the federal and provincial governments have to cover also include over $400 million a year for the handling and processing of false refugee claimants. Moreover, it has been estimated that each claimant costs the government $50,000 in social benefits.
The study that I mentioned earlier indicates that between 30% and 60% of the claimants that approach the Canadian government lack proper documents. In addition, experts estimate that most of the people without documentation are linked to smugglers.
Some people can be expected to pay up to $50,000 to be transported into countries such as Canada, although the price does depend on the destination and complexity of the circumstances surrounding the trip. However, since most recently apprehended smugglers have received fairly lenient sentences, the majority of them claim that the risk is worthwhile.
These newly arrived people often enter our country with substantial debt due to the enormous price they had to pay to be transported across the border. Most really could not afford the high costs but often found it necessary to leave their homes anyway and head for another country. Imagining they would be able to repay it once they had found employment at their destination, they often arrive and have trouble finding a job, which becomes problematic. Many of them then become involved in low paying jobs or other things and some in fact become involved in criminal activity, which also becomes a problem. This obviously contributes to the rise in crime in Canada.
The organized crime problem in Canada is a multibillion dollar burden on society. This study given to the federal government maintains that the illegal immigration problem that we are encountering is doing nothing but adding to the already tremendous amount of money that is coming out the country's pockets. Illegal immigrants are adding to Canada's costs of operation, both in fighting crime and in processing false immigration claims. Something needs to be done.
I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to the Solicitor General once again what he proposes be done to suppress this problem. We need to do something about this on a national level and then bring it to the attention of an international forum. How can we as Canadians rectify this problem?