THE TRUMP DILEMMA
The unexpected election of U.S. President Donald Trump and his early attempts to build walls and restrict travel from certain countries have made many people who have uncertain status in the U.S. nervous, even those from countries not identified by the proposed ban. Some of these people have resided in the U.S. for years after their work visas or travel visas expired and now worry they could be targets for deportation. Many of them are now looking to enter Canada as refugee claimants. The problem? Those who have been living in the U.S. for several years outside their country of origin may have a difficult time convincing the IRB they face persecution in their home country. According to an information primer put out by the Canadian Council for Refugees, the following factors could have a negative impact on a refugee claim:
Lengthy residence in the U.S. without making a claim for asylum; A delay in making a refugee claim in the U.S.; Abandoning a refugee claim made in the U.S.; A refused refugee claim in the U.S.; A successful refugee claim in the U.S.; A delay in making a refugee claim in Canada.
Which brings us to the cases of asylum seekers who have to chosen to enter Canada at the so-called “irregular” border crossings at places such as Emerson, Man. and Lacolle, Que. This winter, Canadians became familiar with images of families walking across snowy fields in bone-numbing cold to enter Canada at unguarded border points. For these people, it could be a tremendous gamble. By choosing this route, they get past the first step in the two-step process and avoid being returned directly to the U.S. They will, however, still be screened and assessed by CBSA agents once they’ve been identified. But if these people don’t meet any of the exceptions to the agreement or their refugee claim is denied, they’ll be deported back to their country of origin, not the U.S.