Back when Donald Trump first became president and started setting about cracking down on illegal immigration with a will, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to engage in a little virtue signaling when he tweeted, “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada.” In one tweet Trudeau sought to demonstrate the moral superiority of Canada to the United States and his own bona fides as a leftist hero. However, eight months later, Trudeau is having second thoughts, and Canadians have acquired a new appreciation for the problems of illegal immigration.

A horde of refugees answered Trudeau’s call

No doubt quaking in fear from Trump’s crackdown, a great many illegal immigrants decided to heed Trudeau’s welcome call and decamp for America’s neighbor to the north. 11,300 refugees, primarily illegal immigrants who had been American residents, have fled to Canada. The pace has increased recently with an average of 250 migrants a day illegally crossing the border between Canada and the United States.

These numbers would be considered light on America’s southern border. However, Canada’s immigration system, used to an orderly influx of people seeking to come into the country, has become inundated, setting up tent cities and turning Montreal’s Olympic Stadium into a processing center.

Canada learns a lesson about the problems of illegal immigration

Prime Minister Trudeau has had to moderate his welcome message to refugees. He is now issuing warnings that people who cross into Canada illegally, who come looking for a job, and who were in America first, are no longer welcome in the country he governs.

Trudeau and Canada have learned a lesson about illegal immigration that Americans have long known.

A flow of illegal immigrants, most of them without many skills, can present an unsustainable burden for their country of destination. To be sure, immigration as a general rule can be a boon for a country, especially if the immigrants bring valuable skills, a willingness to work, and a likelihood of assimilation. The trick is not so much to shut off all immigration altogether but to make it orderly, allowing officials to documents who is coming into the country.

justin trudeau is not the first person who has had his lofty ideals (or sly political calculations, depending on who one asks) run afoul of harsh reality. The problem is that Canada is paying the price for its prime minister’s poorly considered policy of open borders. Of course, the country, being a democracy, can make its displeasure known at the polls at the next opportunity.