Immigration is a complicated subject in this country. There is one word that strikes fear into the heart of every North American. That word is ISIS. The voice of fear demands that we close our borders to immigrants seeking better lives in Canada and the United States. However, does tighter restrictions on immigration provide the answer to our safety from a terrorist attack?
As an educated observer, I would say nay. If one even watches the headlines of news shows and newspapers across the continent, one would find much evidence to support my position. Here are two examples very close to home that I will highlight to illustrate my point.
The first I encountered when watching 16 X 9 in March 2015. The main topic of the piece was about Canadian teen girls who were being lured by ISIS members abroad via online communications. They were being coached by these men on how to travel to a location near the border of Turkey to join the organization as wives. Some were of visible minority backgrounds while others were not. They were enticed by the romance and drama of joining a “righteous war” in an exotic land, as well as the attentions of male warrior archetypes. At least four girls have made the trek never to be seen again.
In concert with this idea of recruiting via the internet, there exists the phenomenon of disenfranchised male youths also immigrating to ISIS territory, but unlike the girls, they were returning as Canadian-born citizens to commit acts of terrorism on their own soil. Like the girls, both visible minority and Caucasian male teens alike were vulnerable. Moreover, other marginalized youths who are immature and impressionable hear of such events, romanticized it in their own minds, and take it on themselves to imitate the thought processes of ISIS. Then, carry out acts of terrorism or conspire to, completely of their own volition without direct contact with ISIS members. An example of such actions, currently in the headlines, is the trial of the young couple of non-ethnic persuasion that planned to set a bomb off at the Parliament Building on Canada Day.
It appears, based on these examples and many others like them, that the greatest threat to our national security in this regard is our own Canadian-born citizens. Therefore, rather than restricting the borders, I would argue that we as a society and culture need to be focusing our attention on marginalized, malleable youth. By attending to their needs, they need not be vulnerable to the ideologies and enticements of terrorist organizations. Not only will we as a nation be caring for the vulnerable in our own society, which we should be motivated to do regardless, but we will also be closing the doors on ISIS and its invasion of our nation via immigration and the information highway.
While immigration is a complicated subject, there is one word that strikes fear into the heart of every North American–ISIS. In many minds, the voice of fear demands that we restrict our borders and tighten immigration policies for those individuals seeking better lives in Canada and the United States. However, does tighter restrictions on immigration provide the answer to our safety from a terrorist attack? That answer remains to be seen.
Opinion By Pauline Campbell
16 X 9 (TV Documentary)