Asylum Seekers Who Fled When Trump Started Enforcing the Law Are Now Trapped in Canadian Legal Limbo
TORONTO/WINNIPEG, Manitoba (W/Files from Reuters) - Thousands of people who fled to Canada to escape President Donald Trump’s crackdown on illegal migrants have become trapped in legal limbo because of an overburdened refugee system, struggling to find work, permanent housing or enroll their children in schools.
Refugee claims are taking longer to be completed than at any time in the past five years, according to previously unpublished Immigration and Refugee Board data provided to Reuters. Those wait times are set to grow longer after the IRB in April allocated “up to half” of its 127 tribunal members to focus on old cases. The number of delayed hearings more than doubled from 2015 to 2016 and is on track to increase again this year.
Hearings are crucial to establishing a claimant’s legal status in Canada. Without that status, they struggle to convince employers to hire them or landlords to rent to them. Claimants cannot access loans or student financial aid, or update academic or professional credentials to meet Canadian standards.
Canada's refugee system was struggling to process thousands of applications even before 3,500 asylum seekers began crossing the U.S. border on foot in January. It lacks the manpower to complete security screenings for claimants and hear cases in a timely manner. Often there are not enough tribunal members to decide cases or interpreters to attend hearings, the IRB said.
More than 4,500 hearings scheduled in the first four months of 2017 were canceled, according to the IRB data.
The government is now focused on clearing a backlog of about 24,000 claimants, including people who filed claims in 2012 or earlier. That means more than 15,000 people who have filed claims so far this year, including the new arrivals from the United States, will have to wait even longer for their cases to be heard. In the meantime, the taxpayers will be forced to pick up the bill for housing, food, medical and everything else the claimants need regardless of whether they are staying or not.
They are fleeing America for being in violation of the law, not fleeing oppression or violence. Critics blame the Canadian Prime Minster's 'reckless' tweeting that everyone is welcome in Canada. Unfortunately for the claimants, Canada has laws and a system that wasn't mentioned in any tweets that has now basically left them stuck for at least the next few years which may leave them deported in the end anyways.