#20tweets in blog form about the growing “refugee problem” at Canada’s border

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Here are my 20 (ok, 21) tweets in blog form:

The people crossing into Canada via the US are not exploiting a legal loophole. It’s not illegal to ask for asylum in Canada.  The UDHR makes it mandatory to allow people to seek asylum  An inland or port-of-entry refugee claimant does not displace a regular immigrant. There is no queue when it comes to refugees. So there is no “queue jumping”.

Geographic and geopolitical luck means that Canada has smaller refugee #s than countries in Europe, but our system handles over 10,000 inland claims per year. Overseas refugee resettlement to Canada is a different category and a completely different process.

The asylum seekers we see on TV being “greeted” by the RCMP are detained, photo’d and fingerprinted. Their passports are confiscated. They are given conditional deportation orders. They are allowed out of detention only if their ID is confirmed, they are not a danger or flight risk and they are not inadmissible for security reasons.

Within a few days, medical and security checks happen and if they are eligible to make a refugee claim, a hearing will be held in 60 days. If you lose your refugee hearing, after limited appeal rights, CBSA will enforce the cond. deport. order you got when you first arrived. Unless you are from a country Canada is not removing people to, such as Syria, Iraq, Yemen, for example.  If that is the case, you are on an “unenforceable removal order” and can remain in Canada and get an open work permit for ~1 yr at a time. But you still have to report to CBSA and if they have any sense that you are a flight risk, they will detain you. Sometimes for years.

About our system: during @jkenney ’s tenure as Immigration Minister, the refugee determination process was overhauled. It used to take 3 years for a refugee hearing, now it takes around 60 days. If you are from a country that is considered safe the timeline is sped up to 30-45 days. There are obvious problems with such a short turnaround, such as gathering documents and preparing witnesses and translations, etc. But now people don’t have to wait here for years for their hearings, they are cycled through the system quickly. So they don’t have time to get very established in Canada before their refugee hearing.

It also means that after 2012, there have been fewer refugee claims and higher success rates.  The CCR has good stats on this.

The Safe Third Country Agreement may have seemed necessary back in 2012 when @jkenney was overhauling the system, but it’s not anymore. It forces people to sneak into Canada to make a refugee claim.  The most vulnerable often can’t sneak, so can’t come. The CCR has a great recent post on this.