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Trudeau Challenger O’Leary: ‘I Don’t Want Anybody Just Walking Into Our Country’

Businessman and television personality Kevin O’Leary, a candidate for leadership of Canada’s Conservative Party, said Canada’s border must be protected to “maintain” sovereignty and urged the government to stop migrants from entering the country over the border without documentation and receiving public benefits.

“I am completely for immigration, legal immigration, I don’t want anybody just walking into our country who feels they should be here and burdening our entire social and healthcare system when we still don’t know who you are. No,” O’Leary said during a speech at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, on Thursday evening.

O’Leary referred to the images of migrants crossing the Manitoba border in the cold with children, arguing that they are coming because of a “loophole” in Canadian law. Reuters recently reported that some migrants, including those seeking asylum in the U.S., are heading to Canada because they fear deportation under President Trump’s enforcement of immigration laws.

“Why is that happening? We have a law in this country, if you go to a port of entry, and you’re a refugee applying for refugee status in the United States and you say to the officer at the border, if you came by rail, by car, walked up, flew in by aircraft, and they ask you if you are applying for refugee status in the U.S. and you say yes, they turn you back. But because there’s a loophole in the law, you can walk anywhere across the 49th parallel, walk into our country 15 feet without any papers at all, without us knowing who you are, where you came from,” O’Leary said.

“In other words, jump the line in front of people who are legitimately going through the process of applying for status in Canada, want to immigrate here or be refugees here, get way ahead of them, be accosted by the RCMP, brought into welfare – we pay your healthcare,” he said. “You can try seven times for an appeal. And if you don’t get refugee status the first time, then if you are not happy, hire a lawyer and contest it for years at a cost of $500,000 per person to you – that is not cool.”

O’Leary said the most “unfair part” of the situation at Canada’s border is there are many people from around the world tangled in the legal process waiting for Canadian citizenship.

“We’re tying up courts with people who don’t want to play by the rules,” he said.

O’Leary, an investor on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank,” said his entry into the race for leadership is tied to the fiscal forecast for Canada. He told the audience mostly of college students that “your children and their children” would be born into debts of $40,000 to $60,000.