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Banner: Moving Here, Staying Here. The Canadian Immigrant Experience

The Documentary TrailTraces of the PastFind an Immigrant
Free From Local Prejudice
A National Open-Door Policy
Filling the Promised Land
A Preferred Policy
A Depressing Period

The Undesirables

by Ellen Scheinberg, historian

Since Confederation, the Canadian government has exerted the right to deny entry into Canada of any foreigner who does not comply with existing immigration regulations. Most of those denied entry were initially rejected overseas or at one of the Canadian ports or border crossings. However, Canada's immigration program began to formalize and expand this practice in 1906 to include the deportation of immigrants who had been residing in Canada for as long as two years.

The number of immigrants deported rose annually -- from 201 in 1906 to 3,963 in 1929. Although the criteria and causes changed over time, the Canadian government consistently relied on deportation as a means to eject the "undesirables" -- those considered to be an economic burden or a security threat to the country.

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