View Full Version : El Salvadoran asylum seeker takes Canada to court over refugee law

M1917 Enfield
07-08-2017, 12:04 PM

El Salvadoran asylum seeker takes Canada to court over refugee law

An El Salvadoran woman and her two daughters are challenging a Canadian refugee law that bars their entry by land, the first time a court has heard a legal objection to the law with a real-life case at its center.

The woman, whose lawyers have asked that she be identified only as E, was rebuffed under the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) when she arrived at the Canada-U.S. border early on Wednesday morning.

Her lawyers are arguing in federal court in Toronto on Thursday afternoon for a suspension order allowing her and her daughters to remain in Canada while the full challenge is heard.

The denial of her refugee claim set in motion a constitutional challenge months in the making that could strike down a Canadian law criticized as the motivating factor for thousands of asylum seekers crossing the border illegally.

After 12 hours waiting in a border crossing office, E and her daughters were allowed to enter Canada, briefly. They spent the night in Toronto with her husband, the first time they had seen him in 12 years. They returned to the border on Thursday to wait.

E's lawyers say she and her daughters fled El Salvador in November, hoping to escape the gang whose members raped her and terrorized her family. Gang violence is one of the main reasons many people are fleeing El Salvador and Central American neighbor Honduras.

Lawyer Prasanna Balasundaram and his colleagues at Toronto's Downtown Legal Services argue that the United States is not a safe country and that it has become less so after President Donald Trump gave immigration officers broader powers to detain and deport people.

They contend the STCA is discriminatory and violates Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Immigration and Refugee Minister Ahmed Hussen has said the agreement facilitates "orderly" processing of refugees and that the United States remains a safe country.

"There is no change to our government's position," spokesman Bernie Derible said on Wednesday.

Canada's Justice department did not respond to a request for comment.

The 2004 agreement has been challenged in court before: One judge struck it down in 2007 but that ruling was overturned on appeal.

E said in an interview with Reuters on Tuesday evening that she is unsure what she will do if Canada turns her away.

"I want to do things the right way," she said. "I don't want to enter (Canada) without permission."

07-08-2017, 12:40 PM
She's come to the right place. Should be living in the lap of luxury in no time.

CLW .45
07-08-2017, 12:42 PM
Appropriate Canadian response :

We make the rules, you follow them.

Get in line, there are other immigrants ahead of you.

And, you don't get to jump the queue.

M1917 Enfield
07-08-2017, 01:06 PM

Refugees flood Canada from the U.S.


WINNIPEG, Canada – What started as a mere spike in new refugee arrivals, has become an established trend of refugees illegally crossing the border from the United States to Canada.

And authorities don’t expect that surge to cease anytime soon.

“At the heart of it all, is this real, very deep fear. Fear for their lives. Fear for persecution. Whether it’s in their home country or the United States, or wherever else they might be coming from,” said Rita Chahal, Executive Director of the Manitoba Interfaith Immigration Council – the largest refugee resettlement organization in Manitoba.

According to the Canadian Border Services Agency, 3,461 people were picked up near the border by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) from January through the end of May. Also in late May, authorities reported the first recent death related to attempting the risky crossing: a 57-year-old woman from Ghana is believed to have died of hypothermia during her journey.

Behind the trend is an increasingly discussed agreement: the Safe Third Country agreement between the United States and Canada requires refugees to apply for asylum in the first country they land. But the agreement doesn’t apply if the refugees cross the border illegally.

In the meantime, an official from Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the United States confirmed for KARE 11 they have seen an increase in deportations in recent months. Specifically with regard to the Somali population – Minnesota remains home to the largest Somali community in the United States – the ICE official said from Oct. 1, 2016, to June 17, 2017, 398 Somalis have been deported. In contrast, 198 Somalis were deported during the entire previous fiscal year.

Authorities are quick to note that the change is not solely due to policy changes under President Trump’s administration, stating that changes in countries’ own political environments may also be contributing to the increase.


Regardless of the factors involved, the reality is felt by those who have braved a risky route – those hoping for a new beginning in Canada.

“I just decided to move to Canada to see if I can get a better place to be,” Abdi Rahman told KARE 11 from his Winnipeg temporary housing in April.

Five days earlier, the 28-year-old man had walked across frozen fields and through icy waters across the border into Canada. He’d initially taken a cab from his home in East Grand Forks, Minnesota, before beginning his overnight trek. It’s the latest leg of a journey for Rahman that started in Somalia and continued in South Africa. In 2010, Rahman moved to Minnesota with his three brothers, a sister and his mom.

“They say they’re going to deport us back, so that’s the reason we don’t want to live there no more. And we don’t have time to go back to Somalia,” Rahman said, adding that if he returned to his native country, “they going to kill me.”


"We don’t have time to go back to Somalia,” said Abdi Rahman from his temporary housing in Winnipeg, adding that if he returned to his native country, “they going to kill me.” (Photo: KARE 11)

His story is not unlike that of a woman named Halima, whose journey also started in Somalia, continued in Cairo, Egypt, and ended – she had thought – in Rochester, Minnesota, six years ago. The young mother talked to KARE 11 from her room at the Salvation Army in Winnipeg, but she said she was too afraid to give her full name or that of her 18-month-old daughter.

“My biggest fear is that the family will have been separated, my own child would not have been allowed to go with me. And I could have been picked up at any moment, at any time,” she said.

So Halima boarded a bus with her child, caught a taxi to near the border and walked through the icy dark to what she hopes is her new life in Canada.

“We’re hoping that we can have a better opportunity, better life and take care of my daughter,” she said.


Which brings us back to our neighbors to the north and their response to the new arrivals. According to one local leader near the border, not all Canadians welcome the wave of refugees crossing into their country.

"They have their doors locked, they keep them out and they call the police," said Doug Johnston, a firefighter and councilor for the municipality of Emerson-Franklin, a town of 700 people near the Canadian border.

As a firefighter, Johnston himself has seen the dangers endured by those attempting the unofficial crossing.

"We drove in, there was about 17 people in this abandoned garage. It was probably the last spot in town before you go right into the country," Johnston said about the blizzard-like morning when they rescued the group that also included an 18-month-old child.

"It's pretty tough. It's a child. It needs protection," he said.

http://www.kgw.com/img/resize/content.kare11.com/photo/2017/06/26/shelter_1498528093522_9913319_ver1.0.jpg?preset=vi deo-still

"We drove in, there was about 17 people in this abandoned garage," said firefighter Doug Johnston of the blizzard-like morning he rescued a group that included an 18-month-old. (Photo: KARE 11)

Once the refugees arrive in larger Canadian cities, they spend their first several days filing a “basis of claim” -- their application to stay in Canada. Chahal says the process, from arrival to a hearing when the refugees learn whether they can stay in Canada, usually takes between two to four months. And while the process rolls along, Chahal’s organization – and others like it – continue to meet the immediate needs of the new arrivals.

“It’s the human aspect of this, not the numbers. It’s the human aspect of it. So our focus is always based on ensuring that people are out of immediate and imminent danger. They have a place to stay, food and shelter, basic human rights,” she said.

But delivering those basic needs also challenges organizations faced with insufficient funding.

“Up to this point, we’ve been covering this totally on our own donations from people who are donating and supporting us, from people who have been kind to the Salvation Army and trust us along the way,” said Major Rob Kerr of The Salvation Army.

At one point, the Winnipeg branch of the Salvation Army was hosting around 90 people a night – in addition to their regular shelter population. Kerr acknowledges organizations like his will need support to continue serving the newest members of their community.

“We haven’t received any funding to this point. We’re hoping that something will come along, because it’s become much more significant than we thought it would be,” Kerr said.

And beyond the dollars, the shelters, the international agreements – people on both sides of the border say they’re also struggling to accept a reality they never could have predicted.

“We’ve never, never anticipated the idea of people fleeing the United States to come to Canada,” Kerr said about the current situation, adding, “We realize it’s not the United States they’re fleeing, but what they’re fleeing is being sent home to their own country."

07-08-2017, 02:11 PM
Her lawyers are arguing in federal court in Toronto on Thursday afternoon for a suspension order allowing her and her daughters to remain in Canada while the full challenge is heard.

And thanks to Trudeau dumping a crap load of Harper appointees to the immigration and refugee review board and immigration judges, and not replacing them, the wait time for full challanges to be heard is currently estimated at ELEVEN F--KING YEARS.

Assuming of course Trudeau doesn't just go ahead and rubber stamp everybody without hearings, which leaks to the media suggest the Liberals are contemplating.

07-09-2017, 03:09 AM
Well she could just convert to Islam and skip the line