The Hamilton Spectator - - FINDING HOME -

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.

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