Canada is built on a history of exploitation, displacement and discrimination.
With the exception of Indigenous peoples, all those with Canadian citizenship are themselves immigrants or the descendants of immigrants. Despite this, Canadian governments have no problem enforcing arbitrary rules about where borders lie and who can and cannot enter the country.
Just as the Canadian colonial power displaced and continues to displace Indigenous people on this territory, Canada is responsible for displacing people worldwide. Through the actions of the Canadian state, in cooperation with multinational corporations, thousands of people are forced to leave their homes every year. The state enforces an economic system that exploits and impoverishes people in poorer countries, and is responsible for waging wars that destroy peoples' homes and livelihoods.
Most people would not want to uproot themselves from their homes, families and cultures if they did not face such horrific conditions. However, while Canada is complicit in forcing people to leave their homes, the Canadian state severely restricts who can come to live on this land.
Part of the problem with the Canadian immigration system is that it views migrants as economic commodities, not as people. In most circumstances, only those in select professions, and with large incomes, are able to legally and permanently immigrate to Canada. Those who are unable to immigrate often come to the country claiming refugee status. However, the definition of who classifies as a "legitimate" refugee is narrow, and refugee claimants face an arbitrary and unsympathetic system. As a result, many are forced to stay in the country illegally.
These non-status people are not criminals, but people seeking to live with dignity and self-determination. Canada deported 13 000 of these non-status people last year. Deportation can break up families, uproot people from their communities and send them to situations of extreme danger.