Researcher highlights impact of deporting immigration lawbreakers

By Drew Penner

In February, when a federal judge refused to throw out the deportation order for a Chinese family found guilty of fudging papers to stay in Canada, many cheered, thinking about all the potential housing they dreamed that could put back onto the market by these sorts of crackdowns. But an American researcher says it’s important to remember there’s also a social cost.

“The issue of immigration is complicated and polarizing,” said Zev Yaroslavsky a director at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, whose LA-based study found 37 percent of respondents were worried about being deported. “That’s not good for them and that’s not good for anybody else in the community.”

Some British Columbians were glad to see Xiao Quing Ling and her two sons, Chinese citizens who reupped on permanent residency by pretending to have stayed in Canada longer than they did, get the boot because of their lack of proper documentation. The family claimed to have been innocent victims of fraudster Xun “Sunny” Wang, but the court disagreed.

But Yaroslavsky, who is not familiar with that case, said it’s crucial to realize that sowing seeds of fear among populations anxious about running afoul of authorities, can reap serious consequences.

He says one of the main impacts with people who are anxious about deportation is that they’re far less likely to access services that are available to them, from seeking antibiotics when they get sick to reporting a crime.

They don’t want to get on anybody’s radar.

“That has a profound impact on a metropolitan area,” he said. “If they’re afraid to go to a safety net…then that’s not good for them and that’s not good for anybody else in the community.”

The study of 1,600 people has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.6 per cent and was conducted exactly a year ago amid Donald Trump’s push for the Muslim-country travel ban.

More than half of Latinos and one-third of Asian residents said they were worried about being forced to leave the country.

“The raising of the anxiety level is not good for society either,” he said. “You don’t want your community…sitting on pins and needles that they’re about to be deported.”

Yaroslavsky hopes to repeat the study in future to use as a barometer of cultural tension.

While the research was conducted in the epicenter of America’s struggle with undocumented people, that doesn’t mean there aren’t lessons Canadian immigration officials could learn from it.

“I follow British Columbia very closely because there are a lot of analogues to California,” he said, but stressed that he’s not suggesting immigrants with criminal convictions be treated with any sort of leniency.

While there are many differences between poor Latin American immigrants sneaking over the U.S.’s southern border or overstaying a visa and wealthy Chinese citizens seeking to diversify their assets out of a capitalistic command-economy, the impact on children caught up in the below-board actions of their parents is similar. And that’s something Yaroslavsky was trying to quantify.

“How worried are they?” he wondered. “Does it wash off their skin, or does it affect their psyche?”

8 Responses to Researcher highlights impact of deporting immigration lawbreakers

  1. John V. says:

    Stupid article. Come and stay here legally.

  2. nonconfidencevote says:

    We’re not supposed to deport anyone for fear of making other illegal immigrants “fearful”?

    Fling the Gates wide open and let everyone in.
    Give us your murderers, thieves and rapists.
    Send us your sick, , your devious, your scammers , liars and con artists…..

    We’ll take anyone. No questions asked or honestly answered.
    And when the country is an over populated, polluted, 3rd world “sh!thole………
    Can I move to yours?

  3. Anonymous says:

    This article is a LOAD of crap…no one whos in teh country Legally should be worried. So stupid.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Dear Drew Penner, Your an Idiot!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anyone BREAKING the law(in country illegally etc.)should be worried and expect consequences.

  6. Craig S says:

    This is complete nonsense and the research of illegal migrants in the US is not remotely similar to the situation of a a permanent resident with status in Canada.

  7. trevor byrne says:

    My whole family of 6 came to this country LEGALLY and we are infuriated by the immigration scams and cons of these “bad apples”. Becoming a citizen is a privilege and when its abused you should be turfed out.

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