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University study attacks government over treatment of children of illegal immigrants

By Russell Grenning - posted Tuesday, 24 July 2018

The University study report was scathing.

It reported, "Asylum seeking children…regularly face incarceration in medium-security-style immigration detention centres" and that minors were left "idle, sleeping or lying on the couches for long periods during the day" and some children experienced "psychiatric and academic difficulties long after detention".

It continued, "Some families reported that during long periods of interrogation and waiting for transport, they were left without food for themselves or their children. One mother was arrested in her driveway while holding her infant in her arms. She was separated from her infant – who was still breastfeeding – for four days in jail."


But this report last June wasn't from an Australian university about the Australian Government's policy. It wasn't from an American university about the US Government's policy. It was from McGill University about the Canadian Government's policy and practice of it. McGill is the first-ranked university in Canada. There was a predictable uproar.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) ran the story under the headline, "Canada also detains migrant children, sometimes for months at a time".

Canada's Prime Minister, the youthful (at 46), progressive and ultra- trendy Justin Trudeau has been a trenchant critic of President Trump's immigration policies and can always be relied upon to rally to progressive causes. Back in January 2017, Mr Trudeau tweeted, "To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength." It was a noble sentiment which got Mr Trudeau warm praise from fellow progressives but, unfortunately, too many potential immigrants actually took it seriously and headed north from the USA. Predictably, there was – and is - a crisis.

Coincidentally with the release of the McGill University report, Mr Trudeau weighed in again denouncing the US Government's treatment of illegal immigrants and announcing pompously, "What's going on in the United States is wrong. I can't imagine what the families living through this are enduring. Obviously, this is not the way we do things in Canada."

Well, according to the McGill University study, it is exactly the way they do things in Canada and if Trudeau, who incidentally is a graduate of McGill, wanted to find out how immigrant families manage to live after they are detained trying to illegally cross the border then he could have dropped by his old alma mater for a chinwag with the authors of the report. He didn't. In fact, he studiously avoided even mentioning it.

Then something curious happened. And happened within minutes of Trudeau's statement.


The CBC which had previously reported the McGill report under the "Canada also detains migrant children, sometimes for months at a time" headline quickly changed it to the much less critical, "Canada aims to avoid detaining migrant children, but it happens." Exactly the same story but with a different headline.

Surely a coincidence of events? Possibly, but that would be really stretching credulity. The CBC, like our ABC, is a government funded outfit (although it allows commercial advertising on its TV) and is supposedly independent although Canadian conservative critics lambast it regularly as an entrenched citadel of political correctness with slavish acceptance of so-called progressive causes.

Then in mid-July, Mr Trudeau announced a Cabinet reshuffle.

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About the Author

Russell Grenning is a retired political adviser and journalist who began his career at the ABC in 1968 and subsequently worked for the then Brisbane afternoon daily, The Telegraph and later as a columnist for The Courier Mail and The Australian.

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Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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