There seems to be some controversy as to what to call those crossing the border into Canada.
Tristin Hopper is an award winning reporter who has been writing on this saga for some months. He canvassed a number of viewpoints on this issue, including my own in his recent piece for the National Post.
The spat speaks to an intractable political fight in Canada: Whether the approximately 50 people per day streaming into Canada over the U.S. border are “illegal” or “irregular” migrants.
The Immigration and Refugee Board uses the term “irregular” when referring to the more than 23,000 refugee claimants who have walked into Canada since January 2017 without first passing through an official port of entry. The RCMP, meanwhile, prefers the neutral term “interceptions.”
The official CBC language guide favours “illegal border crossers,” calling it “bureaucratic jargon” to use the term “irregular” favoured by Ottawa.
Raj Sharma, a Calgary immigration lawyer, said “irregular” is the more accurate term given that an asylum seeker is technically still following Canadian law if they cross the border without authorization.
But the term “illegal” is still appropriate for anyone who is unlawfully crossing Canada’s border after already having been deported — or if they have no intention of making an asylum claim, Sharma said.