Irregular border crossing asylum seekers from US not illegal says Vancouver MP Jenny Kwan

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NorthReport
Irregular border crossing asylum seekers from US not illegal says Vancouver MP Jenny Kwan
cco

An interesting question, if a mostly semantic one. I think Kwan's being a little slippery when she blurs the distinction between "not in the Criminal Code" and "following Canadian law", though, in much the same way that lots of traffic offenses aren't in the Criminal Code, but you're still breaking the law if you commit them. Or is this sign at the border just flat-out wrong? What other Canadian laws do you get taken into custody (her own words) for following?

N.B.: Nothing in this post should be construed as advocacy for accepting fewer refugees, treating existing ones worse, or building a fence and making Mexico pay for it.

Unionist

You're right, cco, and Kwan is wrong. Ironically, the very section of the IRPA which she cites shows she is wrong:

Quote:
133 A person who has claimed refugee protection, and who came to Canada directly or indirectly from the country in respect of which the claim is made, may not be charged with an offence under section 122, paragraph 124(1)(a) or section 127 of this Act or under section 57, paragraph 340(c) or section 354, 366, 368, 374 or 403 of the Criminal Code, in relation to the coming into Canada of the person, pending disposition of their claim for refugee protection or if refugee protection is conferred.

In other words, you might commit a host of unlawful acts while crossing the border. But there's a temporary "amnesty" on being charged while your refugee application is being processed, and a full amnesty if it's granted. But if for whatever reason your refugee claim is denied, nothing prevents you from being charged afterwards.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

cco wrote:
An interesting question, if a mostly semantic one. I think Kwan's being a little slippery when she blurs the distinction between "not in the Criminal Code" and "following Canadian law", though, in much the same way that lots of traffic offenses aren't in the Criminal Code, but you're still breaking the law if you commit them. Or is this sign at the border just flat-out wrong? What other Canadian laws do you get taken into custody (her own words) for following?

 

N.B.: Nothing in this post should be construed as advocacy for accepting fewer refugees, treating existing ones worse, or building a fence and making Mexico pay for it.

Unfortunately, cco, no matter how many disclaimers and surrounding explanations you put around something, people here will ONLY see that thing and ignore everything else you have written, and condemn you for writing it. For example, if you say "I hate A", that will give them the right to call you A because you wrote A. Such are the way that these minds operate. They are completely intolerant, and only see what they want to see.

Unionist

progressive17 wrote:

cco wrote:
[...]

N.B.: Nothing in this post should be construed as advocacy for accepting fewer refugees, treating existing ones worse, or building a fence and making Mexico pay for it.

Unfortunately, cco, no matter how many disclaimers and surrounding explanations you put around something, people here will ONLY see that thing and ignore everything else you have written, and condemn you for writing it. For example, if you say "I hate A", that will give them the right to call you A because you wrote A. Such are the way that these minds operate. They are completely intolerant, and only see what they want to see.

Well progressive17, there was only one comment on cco's post before yours - and that comment fully agreed with cco. So don't be such a pessimistic cynic! :)

NorthReport

Ottawa must do more to help Toronto welcome refugees

Toronto can’t foot the whole bill for what amounts to a national — even global — crisis over migrants.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2018/04/26/ottawa-must-do-mor...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Rather than solely cutting a cheque to Toronto to cover room and board, Ottawa could also offer incentives to refugees willing to live somewhere other than Toronto.  Sure, the 6ix is awesome, but what if your hearing could be fast tracked, or financial assistance extended, if you were to be willing to live in one of the other thousands of Canadian communities?  We do the same with, say, new doctors, don't we?  Agree to practice in a smaller community and get some perks in exchange?

NorthReport

Canada is not doing its part to ease the global refugee crisis

“Canadian policy on migrants, especially refugees, has not responded to this moment in time,” writes Vicky Mochama. “Canada has coasted globally on an acceptance of immigrants that is nowhere near the scale of other nations.”

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/star-columnists/2018/04/25/canada-is-not...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
“Canada has coasted globally on an acceptance of immigrants that is nowhere near the scale of other nations.”

Does the scale of those other nations have more to do with geography?

NorthReport

It seems that Jenny Kwan was correct after all, eh!

Four myths about Canada's border crossings

The second myth is that refugee claimants who are crossing into Canada at non-official border crossings are entering illegally. Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees. Under international law, a refugee claimant cannot be punished for the way they enter into a country to seek asylum. Our immigration law does not make it illegal to enter Canada using informal border crossings, as long as a person reports to border services without delay. There is no legal basis to insist, as some have, that those who cross at non-official border points should be summarily deported, or that their refugee claims should be expedited since they will be refused. Underlying these suggestions is the assumption that people who are entering are not “real refugees.” The problem is that you cannot tell whether someone is a “real refugee” simply by the way they enter your country. In fact, in 2017, 53 per cent of those who crossed irregularly from the United States were found to be refugees.

http://ottawacitizen.com/opinion/columnists/sadrehashemi-four-myths-abou...

NorthReport
Rikardo

Its incredible that Ottawa is sending the Immigration Minister (alone?) on an all-expenses paid-by- taxpayers visit to Nigeria to ask them to help stop the thousands ? of Nigerians arriving here after getting legal travel visits to USA.  Nigeria with 200 million people and countless problems like Boko Harim and overpopulation.  Poor Canada 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Nigeria with 200 million people and countless problems

Like 200 million Princes who cannot claim their rightful inheritance without the help of some gullible Canadian (or American, or at any rate, not-Nigerian) grandmother.

And if Boko Haram is a problem for Nigeria (or any other country) then they should deal with that problem.  What's the obstacle?

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

My problem with these asylum seekers is that they are fleeing the US,not war torn death traps.

I also have a problem with these asylum seekers receiving social services some people who are legitimate Canadians cannot receive,mainly housing.

My last problem with them is their freedom to choose where they want to live. They should not have that choice. I was born here and don't have that choice or else I'd be living in Vancouver in a co-op or social housing unit which many of these asylum seekers will get.

I see nothing wrong with turning some of them back to the US where they can apply for refugee status. Too bad if you don't like the President or that the US is not as generous as Canada.

We can't cater to all these asylum seekers needs. If our home grown homeless or impoverished brothers and sisters have to suffer,having the door slammed in their faces when they need these social services the most,why should foreigners be given priority.

That's how I see it. Sorry.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
My problem with these asylum seekers is that they are fleeing the US,not war torn death traps.

I'm kind of inclined to agree.  Sure, Trump is an asshole.  But pretending that the U.S. is somehow unliveable, even for POC, is an absurd stretch.

Or someone tell me which specific threats someone faces in the U.S. but not in Canada?  Racism (because we've eradicated that)?  Sexism?  Homophobia?  "Murderous" police?  Can someone please give Canada a well-deserved pat on the back, if we're literally saving the lives of asylum-seekers with our awesomeness?

voice of the damned

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
My problem with these asylum seekers is that they are fleeing the US,not war torn death traps.

I'm kind of inclined to agree.  Sure, Trump is an asshole.  But pretending that the U.S. is somehow unliveable, even for POC, is an absurd stretch.

Or someone tell me which specific threats someone faces in the U.S. but not in Canada?  Racism (because we've eradicated that)?  Sexism?  Homophobia?  "Murderous" police?  Can someone please give Canada a well-deserved pat on the back, if we're literally saving the lives of asylum-seekers with our awesomeness?

And my understanding with the Nigerian immigrants is that they're originally going to the US, gaining admittance, and then heading to Canada. So they're apparently willing to throw themselves at the mercy of freakin' Homeland Security in order to get into that country. Kind of makes it hard to argue they have a legitimate fear of torture and repression if they get sent back there.  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Out of the frying pan (former homeland), into the fire (the U.S.), and then from there a short 2km walk to the promised land (Canada, who all babblers agree shares none of the social problems of the U.S.).

I'm not trying to halt immigration to Canada, at all, but this business wherein people land safely in the U.S. and then decide it's even worse than where they started from doesn't really hold water.

If asylum seekers should be permitted to jump from upstate NY to Quebec to escape racism, I only need to hear babblers tell us how Canada has no racism any more, and stick to that.

WWWTT

If asylum seekers should be permitted to jump from upstate NY to Quebec to escape racism, I only need to hear babblers tell us how Canada has no racism any more, and stick to that.

Try telling that to those seeking asylum in Canada. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Try telling that to those seeking asylum in Canada.

I'm not clear what you're suggesting here, WWWTT.  If you mean I should tell asylum seekers that Canada has no racism now, I wouldn't do that, because that's not the case.

If I were to suggest, here at babble, that the U.S. is a stinking cesspool of racism (and/or sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.) but Canada is none of the above, and rightly deserves a pat on the back for being better'n them, I would expect to be told that that's not the case at all.

So I guess, if we're no better, it's hard to see any specific merit to asylum seekers safely landing in the U.S., then crossing the border into Canada to "escape" the things that are apparently common to both countries.

That's as silly as saying you had to move from Manitoba to Ontario to escape the metric system, or Tim Horton's.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Try telling that to those seeking asylum in Canada.

I'm not clear what you're suggesting here, WWWTT.  If you mean I should tell asylum seekers that Canada has no racism now, I wouldn't do that, because that's not the case.

If I were to suggest, here at babble, that the U.S. is a stinking cesspool of racism (and/or sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, etc.) but Canada is none of the above, and rightly deserves a pat on the back for being better'n them, I would expect to be told that that's not the case at all.

So I guess, if we're no better, it's hard to see any specific merit to asylum seekers safely landing in the U.S., then crossing the border into Canada to "escape" the things that are apparently common to both countries.

That's as silly as saying you had to move from Manitoba to Ontario to escape the metric system, or Tim Horton's.

Call me cynical. I agree with you. Asylum seekers arent coming in from the US because Canada is free of all these ills such as racism,homophobia etc.. And even if some cite Trump as the problem,I think thats a bunch of crap.

They're coming here because we have very generous social services.

But we cant accomodate the world.  Asylum sekers fleeing the US should be turned back. It's crazy that these people have more rights to social services and to free movement than Canadians already living here.

I've always wanted to live in BC. I can't freely move there because (a) I can't afford to get there and (b) even if I did,there wouldn't be a co-op or social housing unit waiting for me or short cuts to higher education.

What an insult to those Canadians living in tents in Vancouver while someone fleeing the United States gets housing.

And if that sounds racist,I couldn't care less.

voice of the damned

Magoo wrote:

So I guess, if we're no better, it's hard to see any specific merit to asylum seekers safely landing in the U.S., then crossing the border into Canada to "escape" the things that are apparently common to both countries.

Well, here's a possible thing. Are some of the asylum seekers leaving the US not because they fear torture by the US government(in which case, as I said, entering the country to begin with was kind of irrational), but rather because the US is more likely to send them back to their homelands, where(they argue) they could face persecution from THOSE governments?

Which I guess would further raise the question as to why they didn't just come to Canada to begin with. Is it really just because they wouldn't be able to claim refuguee status at an airport or seaport, so have to get themselves actually into the country before doing that? Or is it because airlines don't fly directly to Canada?

In the case of people coming up from Mexico and points south, obviously they would have to go through the US to get here(unless they have enough for a plane or boat ticket). So I guess my question really applies to people coming from acrosss the Atlantic(eg. the Nigerians in New York).

cco

alan smithee wrote:

But we cant accomodate the world.  Asylum sekers fleeing the US should be turned back. It's crazy that these people have more rights to social services and to free movement than Canadians already living here.

I've always wanted to live in BC. I can't freely move there because (a) I can't afford to get there and (b) even if I did,there wouldn't be a co-op or social housing unit waiting for me or short cuts to higher education.

What an insult to those Canadians living in tents in Vancouver while someone fleeing the United States gets housing.

It sounds to me like you're suggesting newly arrived refugees get handed a map of Canada and asked where they want to live, and then get settled wherever they choose (presumably with a $1 million condo if they pick "downtown Vancouver").

Now, I've never been a refugee, so I can't speak to whether that's accurate. If it is, I agree with you it'd be fairly outrageous (though not an issue of "free movement"). I do wonder, however, about the apparently massive numbers whose first choice is a homeless shelter in Montréal, with Olympic Stadium as their backup destination. It seems to me that a lot of the "housing" offered to refugees is shelter space and/or motel rooms, with the balance paid for by private organizations.

And as far as those fleeing the United States, I'd personally draw a distinction between those who arrived in the US as refugees from, say, Haiti or El Salvador years ago, and who are now in danger of being deported back there because of Trump, versus someone who arrived in the US on a tourist visa from Nigeria for the sole purpose of driving up to walk into Canada. The former has a far more legitimate claim than the latter, I'd say.

On the issue of social services, it reminds me of working-class people who rail against unions and their better-paid jobs, as if the problem wasn't the nonunionized being paid too little, but the unionized being paid too much. Where refugees get more social services than the average Canadian, the problem is that the average Canadian isn't getting them. Stopping all the refugees wouldn't give the Canadian-born automatic dental, vision, and prescription coverage. I'm wary of portraying a few thousand people -- whether or not they have legitimate claims -- as parasites stopping the rest of us from receiving social services. Once that's started, it won't end with refugees.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Well, here's a possible thing. Are some of the asylum seekers leaving the US not because they fear torture by the US government(in which case, as I said, entering the country to begin with was kind of irrational), but rather because the US is more likely to send them back to their homelands, where(they argue) they could face persecution from THOSE governments?

So basically, in other words, what if they feel that the U.S. will be less likely to accept their refugee status?

That certainly would make some sense, if refugees believed that.  But would we say that Canada is somehow honour-bound to be more likely to accept a refugee claim?  We didn't choose where those refugees landed.  Why should we be on the hook to give them "better odds"??  I don't hate immigrants, but it's just not clear why we're supposed to fix problems with the U.S. system.  And, as you say, why not just come straight to Canada, then?  Nothing wrong with that.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

cco wrote:
alan smithee wrote:

But we cant accomodate the world.  Asylum sekers fleeing the US should be turned back. It's crazy that these people have more rights to social services and to free movement than Canadians already living here.

I've always wanted to live in BC. I can't freely move there because (a) I can't afford to get there and (b) even if I did,there wouldn't be a co-op or social housing unit waiting for me or short cuts to higher education.

What an insult to those Canadians living in tents in Vancouver while someone fleeing the United States gets housing.

It sounds to me like you're suggesting newly arrived refugees get handed a map of Canada and asked where they want to live, and then get settled wherever they choose (presumably with a $1 million condo if they pick "downtown Vancouver").

I'm not sure which Minister said it,whether it was Goodale or Garneau,that they'd like to ask these asylum seekers where in Canada they'd like to settle.

No that doesn't mean they are 'handed a map'. These people know enough about Canada to know where they'd like to live and where they don't. They all want to live in Montreal,Toronto and Vancouver. IMHO,they should be spread out around the country like the Maritimes and the Prairies.

The comment made by whichever Minister it was who suggested it (I did a search and I can't find it,I saw it on the news) as Québec was being saddled with the costs which exasperate our welfare programs. They made Ottawa do something. The Minister said 'We'll be asking where they'd prefer to live in Canada' Exact quote.

And if some of these asylum seekers end up in Vancouver,do you really think they will be subjected to living in tents? Please.

 If it is, I agree with you it'd be fairly outrageous (though not an issue of "free movement"). I do wonder, however, about the apparently massive numbers whose first choice is a homeless shelter in Montréal, with Olympic Stadium as their backup destination. It seems to me that a lot of the "housing" offered to refugees is shelter space and/or motel rooms, with the balance paid for by private organizations.

Well,I'm happy you see things my way as to what I'm trying to get across. I didn't hear that they were living in the Big Owe.

And as far as those fleeing the United States, I'd personally draw a distinction between those who arrived in the US as refugees from, say, Haiti or El Salvador years ago, and who are now in danger of being deported back there because of Trump, versus someone who arrived in the US on a tourist visa from Nigeria for the sole purpose of driving up to walk into Canada. The former has a far more legitimate claim than the latter, I'd say.

I agree. Let me make it clear that I'm not anti-immigrant. What I have said isn't far right,it is far left. We must protect our welfare state and that's the method of my madness.

On the issue of social services, it reminds me of working-class people who rail against unions and their better-paid jobs, as if the problem wasn't the nonunionized being paid too little, but the unionized being paid too much. Where refugees get more social services than the average Canadian, the problem is that the average Canadian isn't getting them. Stopping all the refugees wouldn't give the Canadian-born automatic dental, vision, and prescription coverage. I'm wary of portraying a few thousand people -- whether or not they have legitimate claims -- as parasites stopping the rest of us from receiving social services. Once that's started, it won't end with refugees.

I never called them parasites. I don't want the government to use this as a way to weaken our welfare state. We can't possibly pay for everyone who crosses our border. I'm not trying to sound cold. I'm being realistic.

NorthReport

How many refugees does Canada take in each year? Is the percentage substantially increasing, or is it just the usual troublesome media stirring the pot?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
And as far as those fleeing the United States, I'd personally draw a distinction between those who arrived in the US as refugees from, say, Haiti or El Salvador years ago, and who are now in danger of being deported back there because of Trump

Would it be "because of Trump"?

Or because there's no longer a war in Haiti or El Salvador?

Isn't the whole idea of refugee status predicated on fleeing a potentially deadly situation?  Who needs to flee a potentially deadly situation that's actually no longer a situation?

Should the U.S. grant me asylum to escape Pierre Trudeau's invocation of the War Measures Act?  Or is it safe now?

WWWTT

@ Mr Magoo 

I don’t think that people from Nigeria (or anyone geographically far separated from Canada for that matter) fully understands that Canada suffers from the same problems as the US. 

However I believe that Canada probably still has a better  reputation than the US internationally and I’m sure there are many people in the world that would prefer Canada over the US for a number of reasons. 

cco

Previous presidents had issued orders extending that refugee status, and Trump issued the orders terminating it, so yes, it's because of Trump, not an administrative decision by a neutral bureaucrat that Haiti and El Salvador are now safe countries once more.

The thing is, while refugee status is initially granted because of a deadly situation, most* countries that accept refugees do also accept that those refugees are going to move on with their lives, get jobs, have children, and so forth, rather than treating the host country as a motel room for a few years until the crisis is over with.

* I say most because there are, of course, some countries, like Lebanon, who continue to treat even the children and grandchildren of refugees from decades-old wars as illegal squatters, to be expelled forthwith the minute Palestine's free.

Of course, the motel room philosophy's been tried elsewhere, most notably in Australia, which has rather cleverly bought off the least developed nations in its sphere of influence to resettle refugees trying to reach Australia in places like East Timor and Papua New Guinea, with the goal of making them as miserable as possible without actually dumping them into an active war zone. It's a good thing Trump has contempt for Australia, or else he'd have stolen that brilliant idea and settled all refugee claimants coming to the US in Liberia.

I guess if Canada wanted to try the Australian model, we could send all refugees to a tent city in Alert. Let's see if they fear for their lives enough to go from Nigeria to -65 wind chills!

voice of the damned

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Well, here's a possible thing. Are some of the asylum seekers leaving the US not because they fear torture by the US government(in which case, as I said, entering the country to begin with was kind of irrational), but rather because the US is more likely to send them back to their homelands, where(they argue) they could face persecution from THOSE governments?

So basically, in other words, what if they feel that the U.S. will be less likely to accept their refugee status?

That certainly would make some sense, if refugees believed that.  But would we say that Canada is somehow honour-bound to be more likely to accept a refugee claim? 

Not honour-bound to be MORE likely, but honour-bound to be cosistently likely. I don't think the purpose of the standing policy was to address supposed injustices in the US system, just to reflect the will of the Canadians as expressed via parliament and the courts on immigration matters.

As a comparison, when US courts crafted their First Amendment jurisprudence, they likely didn't say "You know, Canadians aren't able to buy porn mags without the little black dots censoring the good stuff, so we should make sure that those are freely available for them down here." The rulings were made entirely on the basis of the judges' interpretation of the US constitution, with any advantage to cross-border shopping Canadian porn-hounds being simply incidental.

Back to immigration, I agree it would be supreme folly to plan our policy simply on the basis of always being one step ahead of the Americans in terms of openness. It should be based on what Canadians want, within the boundaries of what our constitution will permit.