The year is almost at a close.
If I were asked what the top immigration news story for 2010 would be, I would have to say it would be the change in attitude towards immigrants and refugees.
The Economist's article: A Smaller Welcome Mat contains some interesting points, but misses the overall picture. The headline is inaccurate -- the numbers of immigrants coming to Canada remains consistent with previous years.
Canada's 'welcome mat' remains for skilled workers and temporary workers. Canada continues to have a robust program for international students. It is true that the net worth requirement of 'investors' has been raised, but that seems appropriate given the current economic realities of the world and high net worth individuals.
It is not about the numbers -- but about the shift in attitude. The CBSA/immigration enforcement authorities seem more willing to investigate and deal with (perceived or otherwise) immigration abuse. Unauthorized consultants have been targeted by new legislation. CIC has toughened the citizenship exam and released a publication laying out some expectations for prospective citizens. Visa requirements have been placed on visitors from Mexico and the Czech Republic, stymying refugee claims deemed to be bogus. A lot of sound and fury was expended by CIC Minister Kenney on the boat load of Tamil refugees. Still more legislation is on the way attempting to address human smuggling. On the public opinion side, deep opprobation was expressed against permanent residents that face deportation for criminality, 'queue jumpers' and marriage fraud.
Thankfully, the sentiments that have been expressed against immigrants and foreign nationals (termed 'aliens') in the US don't seem to have translated here. Similarly, Europe's retreat from multiculturalism (in Germany and other countries) will likely not take root here. The governing party has only 'tinkered' with immigration policy.
We are lucky to live in a pluralistic society that benefits from diversity -- not only diversity in ideas but also in people from different parts of the world.