Transcript: Seeking Asylum in Ontario | Jun 13, 2018

Steve sits in the studio. He's slim, clean-shaven, in his fifties, with short curly brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, pink shirt, and striped lilac tie.

A caption on screen reads "Seeking asylum in Ontario. @spaikin, @theagenda."

Steve says IT WASN'T A TOPIC
OF DISCUSSION DURING THE
JUST COMPLETED ELECTION
CAMPAIGN, BUT IT MIGHT BE ONE OF
THE NEW GOVERNMENT'S FIRST
CHALLENGES.
ASYLUM SEEKERS CROSSING INTO
ONTARIO FROM THE U.S. WITH THE
HOPE OF FINDING A COUNTRY
WILLING TO LET THEM STAY.
LET'S FIND OUT MORE ABOUT WHAT'S
AHEAD AT BOTH THE PROVINCIAL AND
FEDERAL LEVELS, FROM:
AUDREY MACKLIN, PROFESSOR AND
CHAIR IN HUMAN RIGHTS LAW AT THE
UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO...

Audrey is in her late forties, with chin-length wavy white hair. She's wearing glasses, a white and pink blouse, and a red beaded necklace.

Steve continues FRANCISCO RICO-MARTINEZ,
CO-DIRECTOR OF THE FCJ REFUGEE
CENTRE AND A PAST PRESIDENT OF
THE CANADIAN COUNCIL FOR
REFUGEES...

Francisco is in his late forties, with long white hair and a full beard. He's wearing glasses, a white long-sleeved t-shirt, and a patterned vest.

Steve continues AND CRAIG DAMIAN SMITH,
ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, GLOBAL
MIGRATION LAB AT THE U OF T's
MUNK SCHOOL OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS.

Craig is in his thirties, clean-shaven, with short curly blond hair. He's wearing glasses, a gray suit, and a blue shirt.

Steve continues CRAIG, YOUR FIRST TIME HERE.
NICE TO WELCOME YOU.

Craig says THANKS
FOR HAVING ME.

Steve says ALONG WITH A COUPLE
OF VETERANS HERE.
JUST WATCH THEM.
THEY KNOW WHAT THEY'RE DOING HERE.
I WANT TO... SHELDON, LET'S
BRING THIS UP FIRST.

A picture pops up of a police officer standing next to a large sign that reads "Stop. It is illegal to cross the border here or any place other than a port of entry. You will be arrested and detained if you cross here.

Steve continues THIS IS A SIGN THAT PEOPLE
TRYING TO CROSS THE BORDER
BETWEEN OFFICIAL BORDER
CROSSINGS ARE FACED WITH, AND IT
SAYS: "STOP.
IT IS ILLEGAL TO CROSS THE
BORDER HERE OR ANY PLACE OTHER
THAN A PORT OF ENTRY.
YOU WILL BE ARRESTED AND
DETAINED IF YOU CROSS HERE."
AND DESPITE THAT WARNING, IN THE
FIRST FIVE MONTHS OF THIS YEAR,
IF WE CAN LOOK AT THE STATS,
HERE WE GO...

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Looking for asylum at the Quebec border."

Steve reads data from the slate and says ABOUT 9,000 PEOPLE
HAVE ENTERED CANADA OUTSIDE
OFFICIAL PORTS OF ENTRY.
90 PERCENT OF THEM AT THE QUEBEC
BORDER.
THAT ACCORDING TO THE CANADIAN
PRESS.
IN APRIL, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT
BEGAN AGREEMENT.

The caption changes to "Craig Damian Smith. Munk School of Global Affairs."
Then, it changes again to "Entering irregularly."

Craig says MAYBE I CAN DEFER TO YOU AND
TALK ABOUT THE REASONS WHY
PEOPLE MOVE.

Steve says FAIR ENOUGH.

The caption changes to "Audrey Macklin. University of Toronto."

Audrey says IT PROVIDES AN ASYLUM SEEKER
MUST MAKE A REFUGEE CLAIM IN THE
FIRST COUNTRY SHE ARRIVES IN
BETWEEN CANADA AND THE UNITED
STATES.
A PERSON WHO ASKS FOR ASYLUM IN
CANADA WILL BE DEFLECTED BACK TO
THE UNITED STATES AND VICE
VERSA.
IT LOOKS LIKE A RECIPROCAL
AGREEMENT.
AND IN PRINCIPLE IT IS.
THE FACT IS THE FLOW OF ASYLUM
SEEKERS IS DISPROPORTIONATELY
FROM SOUTH TO NORTH.
RELATIVE FEW GO FROM NORTH TO
SOUTH.
ONE MIGHT ASK WHY THEN WOULD THE
UNITED STATES AGREE TO THIS.
IT RESULTS IN A NET INCREASE IN
THE NUMBER OF ASYLUM SEEKERS.
AT 9-11, THE UNITED STATES
EXTRACTED ALL SORTS OF BORDER
CONCESSIONS FROM CANADA.
CANADA HAD LONG WANTED THIS
AGREEMENT SO IT COULD REDUCE THE
NUMBER OF ASYLUM SEEKERS IN
CANADA.
THE UNITED STATES RESISTED.
BUT AT 9-11, THE UNITED STATES
DECIDED TO, IN A SENSE, THROW
CANADA A BONE AND SIGN ON TO
THIS AGREEMENT.
IT'S BEEN IN PLACE SINCE 2004.

Steve says AND HAVING SAID ALL
THAT, WHY, WHEN FACED WITH THAT
SIGN, DO PEOPLE COME ANYWAY?

Craig says I MEAN,
UNDER THE REFUGEE CONVENTION,
IT'S NOT ILLEGAL TO ENTER A
COUNTRY IRREGULARLY TO CLAIM
ASYLUM.
THAT'S BUILT INTO INTERNATIONAL
LAW AND CANADIAN DOMESTIC LAW.
SO LONG AS YOU MAKE AN ASYLUM
CLAIM IMMEDIATELY OR AS EARLY AS
POSSIBLE.
THE WAY THAT I TEACH STUDENTS
ABOUT IRREGULAR MIGRATION, WHICH
IS WHAT WE CALL THIS TYPE OF
MOVEMENT, IS THAT THERE ARE PUSH
AND PULL FACTORS.
THERE ARE REASONS THAT PEOPLE
LEAVE COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN OR
PLACES THAT THEY'RE STAYING AND
A DIFFERENTIAL THAT MAKES THEM
WANT TO CLAIM ASYLUM OR REACH A
COUNTRY WHERE THEY SEE THEIR
LIFE CHANCES AS BEING BETTER.

Steve says IS IT TECHNICALLY
ILLEGAL, AUDREY, FOR SOMEONE TO
CROSS AT ONE OF THOSE POINTS
WHERE IT SAYS "STOP, DON'T CROSS"?

Audrey says COUNTRY TO
THAT SIGN IT IS NOT.
IT IS LAWFUL AS YOU THEN GO
WITHOUT DELAY TO A DESIGNATED
PORT OF ENTRY.
ALL THOSE PEOPLE WE SEE IN THE
NEWS DO THAT BECAUSE THEY WALK
INTO THE CHILLY EMBRACE OF THE
RCMP WHO IN FACT TAKE THEM TO A
DESIGNATED PORT OF ENTRY.
SO THEY ARE NOT IN BREACH OF
IMMIGRATION LAW.
THERE'S ANOTHER FACTOR.
IF YOU ARE A REFUGEE CLAIMANT
AND YOU ULTIMATELY SUCCEED IN
YOUR REFUGEE CLAIM, THEN ANY
VIOLATIONS OF IMMIGRATION LAW
THAT YOU HAD TO COMMIT IN ORDER
TO ENTER THE COUNTRY WILL NOT BE
HELD AGAINST YOU.
SO IT IS NOT... EVEN IF THE
ENTRY MIGHT OTHERWISE BE
UNLAWFUL, IF YOU'RE FOUND TO BE
A REFUGEE, IT'S NOT UNLAWFUL FOR
YOU.
THE REASON THAT EXISTS IS
BECAUSE THE DRAFTERS OF THE
REFUGEE CONVENTION AND THE
SIGNATORY COUNTRIES, INCLUDING
CANADA AND THE UNITED STATES,
ALL RECOGNIZED THAT PEOPLE
SOMETIMES HAVE TO TAKE DESPERATE
MEASURES TO REACH SAFETY.
AND SO REFUGEES ARE NOT
PROSECUTED FOR UNLAWFUL ENTRY.

Steve says LET'S CONTINUE TO
FOLLOW THE PATH.
IF THEY, AGAIN, REFUGEES,
WOULD-BE REFUGEES, COME NOT AT
AN OFFICIAL PORT BUT RATHER
WHERE THAT SIGN IS, FOR EXAMPLE,
AND THEY CROSS THE BORDER INTO
CANADA, WHAT HAPPENS TO THEM THEN?

The caption changes to "Francisco Rico-Martinez. FJC Refugee Centre."

Francisco says WELL, THEY ARE DETAINED
OFFICIALLY BY RCMP AND THEN THEY
ARE TRANSFERRED TO THE IRCC, THE
IMMIGRATION SECTION, AND THEY
MAKE A CLAIM.
THE VAST MAJORITY OF PEOPLE, YOU
KNOW, 100 PERCENT, THEY MAKE A
REFUGEE APPLICATION.
AND AFTER THAT, IT'S CALLED AN
INLAND REFUGEE APPLICATION.

Steve says INLAND?

Francisco says INLAND.
AND ORIGINALLY, THESE PEOPLE
WERE TRANSFERRED TO MONTREAL.
EVERYBODY WAS GOING TO MONTREAL.
NOW, EVEN THOUGH THEY ARE
TRANSFERRED TO MONTREAL, THE
MAJORITY OF THEM, BECAUSE... THE
MAJORITY ARE ENGLISH-SPEAKING
PEOPLE, THEY SEE ONTARIO AS AN
ALTERNATIVE TO SETTLE, AND THEY
ARE COMING TO THE CITY OF
TORONTO.

Steve says AND WHERE DO THEY STAY?

Francisco says THEY ARE STAYING IN SHELTERS.
THE CITY OF TORONTO HAS ONE OF
THE BEST NETWORKS OF EMERGENCY
SHELTERS FOR FAMILIES, SINGLES,
WOMEN, ETC.
AND THAT NOW IS OVERCAPACITY.
AND THEY WILL HAVE TO USE
EMERGENCY FUNDS TO PUT THESE
FAMILIES IN HOTELS, FOR
INSTANCE, AND THEY ALSO ARE
OPENING OTHER FACILITIES, LIKE
THE COLLEGES NOW, THE
RESIDENTIAL FOR STUDENTS, THEY
ARE OPEN TO THE INFLUX OF PEOPLE
COMING THROUGH QUEBEC, MOSTLY.
BUT WE HAVE ANOTHER INFLUX OF
PEOPLE THAT HAVE BEEN
INCREASING, THAT IS THROUGH THE
AIRPORT.
AND HERE IN TORONTO MAKING
REFUGEE APPLICATIONS IS INLAND.
THEN THEY ARE MOVED FROM QUEBEC
TO CANADA.
SO THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE, REFUGEE
CLAIMANTS, IS GOING UP IN EVERY
AREA THAT YOU CAN SEE.

Steve says AND PRESUMABLY
THAT'S JUST A SHORT-TERM
SOLUTION, RIGHT?
HOW LONG DO PEOPLE NORMALLY STAY
IN THOSE SETTINGS?

The caption changes to "Pressure on the provinces."

Francisco says THEY HAVE HOUSING WORKERS AND
THE PEOPLE HELP TO FIND A
PERMANENT PLACE TO STAY.
BUT REMEMBER THEN OUR RATE OF
VACANCY IN THE CITY OF TORONTO
IS NOT THAT HIGH.

Steve says PRETTY TIGHT.

Francisco says AND IT IS VERY EXPENSIVE AS WELL.
SO THE MONEY THAT PEOPLE RECEIVE
FROM SOCIAL SERVICES IS NOT
ENOUGH TO FIND ACCOMMODATIONS.
SO THE TIME THAT THE PEOPLE ARE
STAYING IN SHELTERS OR HOTELS OR
IN COLLEGES IS GOING UP, BUT I
AGREE WITH YOU.
IT'S AN EMERGENCY SOLUTION, AND
THE REFUGEE HOUSES OF THE CITY
OF TORONTO, WE ARE WORKING VERY
CLOSELY WITH THE THE OFFICE,
THERE IS A NEW COMMERCE OFFICE
OF THE CITY OF TORONTO, TO TRY
TO BUILD A CAPACITY-BUILDING
PLAN FOR DEALING WITH THE INFLUX
OF REFUGEE CLAIMANTS TO THE CITY
OF TORONTO.

Steve says LET'S FIND OUT WHY
THE INFLUX IS AS HIGH AS IT
APPARENTLY HAS BEEN OVER THE
LAST SIX MONTHS.
HOW COME?

The caption changes to "Craig Damian Smith, @CraigDamian."

Craig says I THINK
IT'S EXTREMELY COMPLICATED AND
WHEN THE PRESS FOCUSES ON VERY
SPECIFIC KIND OF MECHANISMS AND
CATALYSTS FOR IT, WE CAN GET
QUITE FIXATED ON THOSE.
WHEN WE LOOK AT IRREGULAR
MIGRATION ROUTES, WE WANT TO
KNOW WHAT THE CATALYSTS FOR
CHANGE ARE.
AND THE WAY THAT YOU LOOK AT
THAT AGAIN IS, LIKE I SAID,
PUSH-AND-PULL FACTORS.
THE ONE THING WE NEED TO LOOK AT
AS WELL IS POLICY CHANGE IN
COUNTRIES WHERE THEY ARE
CURRENTLY RESIDING, SO WE COULD
LOOK AT POLICY CHANGE IN THE U.S.

The caption changes to "Connect with us: TVO.org. Twitter: @theagenda; Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, Instagram."

Steve says SUCH AS?

Craig says SUCH AS ANNOUNCEMENTS IN THE
U.S. TO REPEAL TEMPORARY
PROTECTED STATUS FOR PEOPLE,
WHICH WE KNOW HAS NOT BEEN
DEFINITELY THE MAIN REASON FOR
THIS INFLUX OF PEOPLE FROM A
VARIETY OF DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.
BUT IT COULD BECOME A MAJOR... A
MAJOR POLITICAL SITUATION IN THE
COMING YEAR, AND THIS IS
SOMETHING THAT... MAYBE IT'S NOT
TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT YET, THE
KIND OF FORECASTING...

Steve says HOLD ON THAT FOR A
SECOND.
YOU WANTED TO ADD, AUDREY?

Audrey says THE PREMISE
OF THE THIRD COUNTRY AGREEMENT
IS BOTH PLACES ARE SAFE TO SEEK
REFUGEE PROTECTION.
FOR SEVERAL YEARS YOU HAVEN'T
SEEN A LOT OF PEOPLE TRYING TO
GET FROM THE UNITED STATES INTO
CANADA THROUGH IRREGULAR MEANS.
SO WHAT HAS CHANGED?
WELL, LET ME GIVE YOU AN
EXAMPLE.
LET'S SAY YOU HAVE A WOMAN FROM
HONDURAS.
HONDURAS IS A COUNTRY WITH THE
HIGHEST RATE OF HOMICIDE OF
WOMEN IN THE WORLD.
IF THAT WOMAN ESCAPES HONDURAS
WHERE SHE IS BEING BEATEN BY HER
HUSBAND, WHERE SHE CANNOT GET
THE POLICE TO PAY ANY ATTENTION
TO HER BECAUSE THE LIVES OF
WOMEN DON'T COUNT VERY MUCH AND
SHE ACTUALLY MAKES IT TO CANADA
WITH HER CHILDREN AND SHE
PRESENTS HER REFUGEE CLAIM TO
THE IMMIGRATION AND REFUGEE
CLAIM AND HER CLAIM IS FOUND TO
BE FACTUALLY CREDIBLE, SHE WILL
BE ACCEPTED AS A REFUGEE WITH
HER CHILDREN.

Steve says IN CANADA?

Audrey says IN CANADA.
IF THAT SAME WOMAN GOES TO THE
UNITED STATES AND MAKES A
REFUGEE CLAIM THERE, SHE WILL
FIRST BE ARRESTED, AND THAT'S
WHETHER SHE ENTERS IRREGULARLY
OR SOMETIMES EVEN LAWFULLY.
HER CHILDREN WILL BE TAKEN AWAY
FROM HER.
SHE WILL BE PUT IN DETENTION.

Steve says THAT'S NEW.
TAKING AWAY CHILDREN FROM THEIR
PARENTS IS NEW.

Audrey says IT'S NEW.
IT'S UNPRECEDENTED.
THERE'S REALLY NO OBVIOUS
JUSTIFICATION FOR IT.
ALL EVIDENCE SEEMS TO INDICATE
THAT IT IS DONE FOR THE EXPRESS
PURPOSE OF DETERRING PEOPLE FROM
SEEKING ASYLUM, BY DOING ONE OF
THE WORST THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO
TO INFLICT SUFFERING ON
FAMILIES, WHICH IS TAKE CHILDREN
AWAY FROM PARENTS.

Steve says WHEN DID THAT POLICY
CHANGE?

Audrey says ABOUT A MONTH... WELL, IT HAS
BEEN BUILDING FOR SEVERAL
MONTHS.
IT HAS NOW BEEN MADE A KIND OF
AUTOMATIC DEFAULT POLICY IN THE
LAST MONTH OR TWO.

Steve says DO YOU KNOW IF THAT
CAME FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF
JUSTICE OR THE OVAL OFFICE, OR
WHY DID THAT HAPPEN?

Audrey says IT HAPPENED IN ORDER TO DETER
PEOPLE FROM MAKING CLAIMS FOR
REFUGEE PROTECTION AS WELL AS
IRREGULAR MIGRATION.

Steve says IS IT WORKING?

Audrey says NOT AS FAR AS I KNOW.
WHAT IT IS DOING IS INFLICTING
HORRENDOUS SUFFERING ON PEOPLE,
AND THAT IS ITS VERY PURPOSE.
SO YOU CAN IMAGINE, YOU COULD
DECIDE TO DETER PEOPLE BY
PUTTING SNIPERS AT THE BORDER.
YOU COULD DECIDE TO DETER PEOPLE
THROUGH A VARIETY OF MEANS.
THEY'VE DECIDED TO DETER PEOPLE
THROUGH TAKING CHILDREN AWAY
FROM THEIR PARENTS.
IT'S DESIGNED TO INFLICT
SUFFERING.

Francisco says LET ME GIVE YOU ANOTHER EXAMPLE.
YOU KNOW, THE ANGLE OF CENTRAL
AMERICA IS SUFFERING GUN
VIOLENCE.
IT'S SO VIOLENCE, IN HONDURAS
AND EL SALVADOR, AND THE
AMERICAN ADMINISTRATION ALSO
REMOVED FOR A REASON TO MAKE AN
ASYLUM CLAIM IN THE UNITED
STATES GANG VIOLENCE.
SO WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN IS,
THE PEOPLE WHO WERE GOING TO THE
UNITED STATES TO MAKE A CLAIM,
YOU KNOW, FROM
EL SALVADOR, THEY
WON'T BE ABLE TO MAKE A CLAIM
FOR THOSE REASONS AND THEY WILL
CONTINUE TO OUR SYSTEM, BECAUSE
IT IS ONE OF THE BEST
DEFINITIONS WE HAVE UNIVERSALLY
AS A PROTECTION FOR REFUGEES AND
RISK, FOR INSTANCE, THEY ARE
GOING TO COME TO CANADA BECAUSE
THAT IS THE ONLY OPTION THAT
THEY HAVE...

Steve says DO THEY COME TO
CANADA BECAUSE... I DON'T KNOW,
CRAIG, MAYBE YOU COULD HELP US
ON THIS?...
BECAUSE THE CHANCES OF BEING
ACCEPTED AND GIVEN ASYLUM ARE
BETTER THAN IN THE UNITED
STATES?

Craig says THE
ACCEPTANCE RATE RIGHT NOW IS
ABOUT HALF... IS THAT CORRECT?

Audrey says THE
ACCEPTANCE RATE FLUCTUATES.
RIGHT NOW IT'S BETTER IN CANADA.
IT WASN'T ALWAYS UNDER THE
PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT.
THERE ARE REALLY TWO REASONS...
ONE IS THEY THINK THEY MIGHT
HAVE A BETTER CHANCE OF BEING
ACCEPTED AS REFUGEES IN CANADA.
THEY MIGHT ALSO HAVE FAMILY
HERE.
THE FACT IS MOST OF THEM CAN'T
REACH CANADA AND WON'T BE ABLE
TO REACH CANADA IN ANY EVENT
BECAUSE OF THE VARIOUS
MECHANISMS THAT CANADA USES TO
DETER THEM AND OUR GEOGRAPHIC
ISOLATION.

Steve says DO WE SUSPECT,
CRAIG, THAT MANY OF THEM THINK
THEY'RE LIKELY TO GET FAVOURABLE
TREATMENT IN CANADA BECAUSE THE
PRIME MINISTER SAID NOT TOO LONG
AGO, "COME ON IN"?

Craig says SO WE
KNOW THAT PUBLIC PRONOUNCEMENTS
ABOUT FAVOURABLE IMMIGRATION AND
REFUGEE SYSTEMS CAN ACT AS A
DRAW FOR PEOPLE.
IT'S FRAUGHT TO MAKE THE CLAIM
THAT BECAUSE WE ARE WELCOMING,
THEN WE'LL BE OVERRUN BY ASYLUM
SEEKERS.
WE SHOULDN'T BELIEVE THAT.
IT TURNED OUT NOT TO BE THE CASE
IN EUROPE WHEN ANGELA MERKEL
MADE THE CLAIM THAT GERMANY'S
DOORS WOULD BE OPEN, AND AS
AUDREY MENTIONED, IT'S VERY
DIFFICULT FOR PEOPLE TO ARRIVE
HERE, JUST LOGISTICALLY, BECAUSE
OF GEOGRAPHY.

Steve says WAIT A MINUTE.
YOU SAY IN GERMANY THEY WEREN'T
OVERRUN?

Craig says I'M
SAYING THAT ANGELA MERKEL SAYING
WE WILL MANAGE... HER FAMOUS...
WE WILL MANAGE THIS MIGRATION
CRISIS.
THE RIGHT AND SPECIFIC PUNDITS
KIND OF LATCHED ONTO THAT TO SAY
YOU CAUSED THIS MIGRATION CRISIS
BY TELLING PEOPLE THEY WOULD BE
WELCOMED.

Steve says I SEE.

Craig says THE DATA SHOWS US THAT THAT'S
NOT THE CASE.
THE FLOW WAS ALREADY INCREASING.
THE THING THAT I WORRY ABOUT IS,
GIVEN POLICY CHANGES IN THE U.S.
AND HOW DIFFICULT IT WILL BE,
GIVEN MILITARIZED RAIDS ON
UNDOCUMENTED PEOPLE, GIVEN
FAMILY SEPARATION, THAT AN
IRREGULAR MIGRATION SYSTEM MIGHT
EMERGE WHERE SMUGGLERS STAND TO
MAKE SIGNIFICANT PROFITS BY
BRINGING PEOPLE THROUGH THE U.S.
INTO CANADA.
AND THAT'S SOMETHING THAT WE
SHOULD BE CONCERNED ABOUT AND
THE SAFE THIRD COUNTRY AGREEMENT
CURRENTLY ALSO INCENTIVIZES WHAT
WE CALL FACILITATORS, SO
SMUGGLERS TO GIVE PEOPLE
INFORMATION OR ACTIVELY
TRANSPORT THEM TO BORDERS
BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY CAN'T GO
TO A REGULAR PORT OF ENTRY.

Steve says AUDREY?

Audrey says BEFORE THE
SAFE THIRD COUNTRY AGREEMENT
ARRIVED, PEOPLE WOULD JUST SHOW
UP AT A REGULAR PORT OF ENTRY
AND MAKE AN ASYLUM CLAIM.
THAT WAS THE PROCESS IN
EXISTENCE UNTIL 2004.
THE EASIEST WAY TO DEAL WITH
IRREGULAR BORDER CROSSINGS IS
SIMPLY TO DO WHAT THE AGREEMENT
PERMITS, WHICH IS SUSPEND THE
AGREEMENT.
WHEN THE CIRCUMSTANCES THAT
JUSTIFY THE AGREEMENT, NAMELY
THAT BOTH COUNTRIES ARE SAFE FOR
ASYLUM SEEKERS, NO LONGER
EXISTS.
THAT'S THE IMPORTANT POINT HERE.
IS THE UNITED STATES A SAFE
PLACE FOR PEOPLE TO SEEK REFUGEE
PROTECTION?
IN THE EXAMPLE I GAVE YOU, THAT
HONDURAN WOMAN WOULD BE REJECTED
AS A REFUGEE CLAIMANT BECAUSE OF
THE ANNOUNCEMENT JEFF SESSIONS,
ATTORNEY GENERAL OF THE UNITED
STATES, MADE RECENTLY, THAT
WE'LL BLOCK WOMEN EXPERIENCING
GENDER-RELATED PERSECUTION FROM
REFUGEE PROTECTION IN THE UNITED
STATES.

Steve says OKAY.
YOU MENTIONED JEFF SESSIONS.
LET'S JUST DO A QUOTE ON HERE.
BECAUSE ON MONDAY OF THIS WEEK,
HE DID RELEASE A RULING
REGARDING SOME GROUPS OF ASYLUM
SEEKERS ATTEMPTING TO ENTER THE
UNITED STATES.
SHELDON, LET'S PUT THIS UP HERE.
HERE WAS THE STATEMENT...

A quote appears on screen, under the title "Ripple effect: U.S. asylum policy." The quote reads "Generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-government actors will not qualify for asylum. The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes –such as domestic violence or gang violence- or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim."
Quoted from Jeff Sessions, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Attorney General. June 11, 2018.

Steve says I HEAR A LOT OF
EXHALING AT THE TABLE RIGHT NOW.
GO AHEAD.
REACT TO THAT.

The caption changes to "American-induced policy."

Audrey says SO THAT'S A
REVERSAL OF EXISTING REFUGEE
LAW, NOT JUST IN CANADA OR THE
UNITED STATES, BUT IN A VARIETY
OF COUNTRIES.
SO THE IDEA IS INDEED THAT BEING
AN ORDINARY VICTIM OF ORDINARY
CRIME MAY NOT LEAD TO ONE
GETTING REFUGEE PROTECTION.
BUT WHEN THE VIOLENCE BY PRIVATE
ACTORS IS FOR A REASON RELATED
TO A CONVENTION REFUGEE GRANT,
LIKE GENDER.
WHEN A STATE DOES NOT PROTECT
PEOPLE BECAUSE OF THEIR
IDENTITY, NAMELY AS WOMEN OR
RELIGIOUS MINORITIES OR SO ON,
THOSE ARE THE THINGS THAT TAKE
IT OVER THE LINE FROM ORDINARY
CRIME AND ORDINARY FLAWS IN
CRIMINAL PROSECUTIONS AND
PROTECTIONS INTO THE REALM OF
REFUGEE PROTECTION.

Steve says CRAIG?

Craig says AND
DIFFERENT REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
IN SOUTH AMERICA, IN AFRICA,
HAVE CLAUSES IN THEIR REGIONAL
LAW, THINGS LIKE GENERALIZED
VIOLENCE, AND FROM AN
INTERNATIONAL POLITICS
PERSPECTIVE, CANADA HAS BEEN A
LEADER ON THIS AS WELL.
WHEN THE STATES CAN'T PROTECT
ITS CITIZENS AND THOSE CITIZENS
HAVE TO FLEE AS A RESULT OF THAT
LACK OF PROTECTION, WE RECOGNIZE
THAT AS A UNIQUE SET OF
CIRCUMSTANCES.
IT'S NOT AS IF... WHAT ARE THE
RATES OF THE HIGHEST HOMICIDE
RATES THE WORLD HEALTH
ORGANIZATION PUT OUT A REPORT,
IT ACCOUNTS FOR 20 percent OF GLOBAL
HOMICIDES?
WHAT WAS THE STAT?
DO YOU REMEMBER?

Francisco says THE RISKIEST COUNTRY ON EARTH IS
HONDURAS, FOR INSTANCE, AND IT'S
DUE TO GANG VIOLENCE.
IN
SALVADOR THE SAME AND GUATEMALA.
YOU CAN GO ON AND ON AND ON.
ALL THESE ARE VERY IMPOVERISHED
COUNTRIES AND THEY ARE DEALING
WITH ALL THESE SOCIAL ISSUES,
AND THE STATE DOESN'T HAVE ANY
RESOURCES WHATSOEVER TO DEAL
WITH IT.
AND THE WAY THEY'RE DEALING WITH
IT IS SO WRONG.
BECAUSE THEY'RE SAYING MORE
POLICE.
MORE DETENTIONS.
IF YOU GO TO THE PRISONS IN
EL SALVADOR, FOR INSTANCE, THEY
ARE 1000 percent OVERCROWDED.

Steve says SHELDON, LET'S GO TO
THE BOTTOM OF PAGE 3 AND PUT
THIS CHART UP, IF WE CAN.
THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS
ALLOCATED MONEY... WE'RE GOING
TO SHOW YOU THE MONEY FOR THREE
PROVINCES IN PARTICULAR RIGHT NOW...

A slate appears on screen, with the title "Federal support."

Steve reads data from the slate and says
IT'S 50 MILLION IN TOTAL,
36 MILLION TO QUEBEC.
WE ESTABLISHED EARLIER THAT A
LOT OF PEOPLE GO FIRST TO
QUEBEC.
11 MILLION TO THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO.
3 MILLION TO MANITOBA.
FRANCISCO, THERE OBVIOUSLY IS
GOING TO BE A NEW ONTARIO
GOVERNMENT SWORN IN ON THE 21ST
OF JUNE.
WITH THAT 11 MILLION dollars, WHAT DO
YOU THINK JOB ONE SHOULD BE?

Francisco says THE PRIORITY HAS TO BE WELCOMING
IN REFUGEE CLAIMANTS.
THAT IS THE PROPOSAL THAT A
CIVIL SOCIETY MAKES HERE IN THE
CITY OF TORONTO.
IT IS NOT CLOSING DOORS.
IT IS WELCOMING.
WE ARE PROPOSING TO DO A
WELCOMING CENTRE FOR REFUGEE
CLAIMANTS AND NEWCOMERS.
WHY?
BECAUSE WE NEED TO BE VERY
PROACTIVE IN THE WAY THAT THE
PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE, YOU
KNOW, INTEGRATED IN OUR SOCIETY.
AND TO AVOID... SITUATIONS.
TO BE LINKED TO THE BOARD OF
EDUCATION BECAUSE THERE ARE MANY
CHILDREN HERE.
YOU KNOW, CHILDREN NEED PUBLIC
HEALTH, VACCINATIONS.
IT HAS TO BE A PLACE THAT IS
GOING TO START DOING THIS
ASSESSMENT AND THEY'RE STARTING
TO DISTRIBUTE IT...

Steve says SO YOU WANT TO BUILD IT.
YOU WANT AN ACTUAL LOCATION...

Francisco says WE ALREADY MADE THE PROPOSAL
TO THE CITY OF TORONTO AND THEY
GOT IT.
THEY SAID, YES, YOU'RE RIGHT.
WE HAVE TO DO IT.
AND THESE REFUGEE HOUSES OF THE
CITY OF TORONTO BEING PROACTIVE.
THE OTHER THING WE ARE DOING IS,
YOU ARE GOING TO START TRYING TO
MOVE PEOPLE TO OTHER CITIES OF
ONTARIO, YOU HAVE TO BUILD
CAPACITY IN THE OTHER CITIES OF
ONTARIO.

Steve says WE'LL FIND OUT FROM
CRAIG.
WHAT CAN 11 MILLION dollars DO?

Craig says I THINK
THAT WHEN WE SAW IN 2015 AND
2016 WHEN THE FEDERAL LIBERAL
GOVERNMENT BASICALLY WON AN
ELECTION BY PROMISING TO BRING
MORE REFUGEES IN, WE KNEW THEY
WERE COMING.
IT WAS WELL-PLANNED.
AND STILL THE CITY OF TORONTO IN
PARTICULAR WAS VERY
UNDER CAPACITY.
THE THING THAT I THINK WE NEED
TO REALIZE IS THAT PEOPLE LIKE
FRANCISCO WHO WORK IN THE
SETTLEMENT SECTOR, THAT THERE'S
SUCH A DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND
EXPERIENCE IN THE CITY OF
TORONTO DEALING WITH NEWCOMERS,
ASYLUM SEEKERS, REFUGEES, THAT
TOP-DOWN GOVERNMENT POLICIES I
THINK ARE LIKELY NOT THE ANSWER
AND THEY SHOULD LISTEN TO THE
REAL EXPERTS, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE
WORKING ON THE GROUND.
IT DOESN'T SEEM TO ME LIKE
11 MILLION Francisco GOES VERY FAR.
BUT IF WE DON'T USE IT AS A
STOP-GAP MEASURE AND INSTEAD USE
IT TO ACTUALLY BUILD PERMANENT
CAPACITY ON THE GROUND, I THINK
THAT'S THE RIGHT MOVE, IN MY
OPINION.

Steve says AUDREY, LET ME
FOLLOW UP WITH YOU INASMUCH AS,
GIVEN THE WAY THE UNITED STATES
HAS CHANGED THE WAY IT IS
APPROACHING THIS ISSUE, HOW DO
YOU EXPECT, OVER THE COURSE OF
THE REST OF THE YEAR, THE IMPACT
OF THAT CHANGE WILL BE FELT HERE
IN CANADA?

Audrey says WELL, THERE
HAVE BEEN IN THE NUMBER OF
ARRIVALS AND I EXPECT THAT WILL
CONTINUE.
THE IDEA THAT IT IS JUST A SOLID
LINE, ALWAYS INCREASING, SIMPLY
DOESN'T... ISN'T BORNE OUT BY
THE EVIDENCE.
SO ONE MIGHT EXPECT A CONTINUING
FLUCTUATION.
I MIGHT SAY THAT I THINK I
UNDERSTAND THAT SOME ONTARIANS
OR CANADIANS FEEL SOME ANXIETY
BECAUSE ANY TIME NUMBERS
INCREASE OVER THE STATUS QUO, IT
SEEMS LIKE AN OCCASION FOR
ALARM.
BUT I THINK PERSPECTIVE IS
CALLED FOR HERE.
CANADA RECEIVES A TRIVIAL NUMBER
OF ASYLUM SEEKERS COMPARED TO
OTHER COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD,
AND, YES, THE NUMBERS ARE
INCREASING, AND SO THAT REQUIRES
AN ALLOCATION OF RESOURCES.
AND THAT I UNDERSTAND IS A CAUSE
FOR CONCERN.
BUT PUT IN A WIDER LANDSCAPE OF
COMPARISON TO OTHER COUNTRIES,
THIS IS REALLY NOT A CRISIS...

Steve says WELL, TRIVIAL MEANS WHAT?

Audrey says THE NUMBER OF ASYLUM SEEKERS
WHO ARRIVED IN CANADA OVER THE
LAST YEAR IRREGULARLY WOULD HAVE
ARRIVED IN LESS THAN A MONTH IN
GREECE.
PERSPECTIVE IS IMPORTANT HERE.

Steve says SO A FEW THOUSAND
PEOPLE, WE'RE SAYING?

Audrey says ONE IN FIVE PEOPLE IN LEBANON
RIGHT NOW IS SYRIAN.

Steve says THAT'S A CRISIS.

Audrey says SO IT IS TRUE THAT NUMBERS
HAVE INCREASED, BUT IT'S
IMPORTANT TO KEEP THAT IN
PERSPECTIVE AND UNDERSTAND THAT
EVEN THOUGH CANADA HAS BENEFITED
FROM BEING NEXT TO THE UNITED
STATES AND ISOLATED FROM CRISIS
SPOTS IN THE WORLD, NO COUNTRY
IS IMMUNE FROM THE EFFECTS OF
DISRUPTION, DISORDER, CHAOS, BAD
GOVERNANCE IN OTHER COUNTRIES,
AND MIGRATION IS ONE OF THOSE
EFFECTS.
AND IN A SENSE WHAT WE SEE
ACROSS THE BORDER IN THE UNITED
STATES IS THE EFFECT OF
GOVERNANCE IN THE UNITED STATES NOW.

Francisco says AND WE HAVE INTERNATIONAL
COMMITMENTS, YOU KNOW?
WE ARE SIGNATORIES OF THE
DIFFERENT CONVENTIONS THAT
PROTECT AND WE HAVE TO OPEN OUR
SOCIETY, AND OUR SOCIETY HAS
PROVED IT IS A VERY HUMANITARIAN
ORIENTED.
WHEN THERE IS A NEED, WE
RESPOND.
THE SYRIAN CRISIS IS AN EXAMPLE
OF THAT.
WHO REDUCED THE NUMBER OF SYRIAN
COMING TO THE COUNTRY WAS THE
GOVERNMENT.
THE CIVIL SOCIETY WAS READY.
THE CIVIL SOCIETY IS WHERE WE
NEED TO TURN AND SAY, LISTEN,
THERE ARE A NUMBER OF PEOPLE
COMING, WE DON'T KNOW HOW LONG,
AND START TALKING TO THE FAITH
COMMUNITIES, TO PEOPLE THAT HAVE
EMPTY SPACES IN THEIR HOUSES,
AND WE ARE MOVING IN THAT
DIRECTION BECAUSE SOCIETY IS THE
ONE THAT IS GOING TO INTEGRATE
THESE PEOPLE IN THE SCHOOLS, IN
THEIR NEIGHBOURHOODS, PEOPLE
WORKING AND MANY OTHER THINGS,
LEARNING ENGLISH.

Steve says I'VE GOT ABOUT 30
SECONDS LEFT HERE FOR YOU TO
TELL ME HOW MUCH GOODWILL DO YOU
THINK THERE STILL IS IN THE
COMMUNITY IN THE PROVINCE OF
ONTARIO TO WELCOME REFUGEES AND
INTEGRATE THEM INTO OUR SOCIETY?

Francisco says I THINK WE HAVE TWO
SOCIETIES.
ONE IS A SOCIETY THAT DOESN'T
HAVE EXPERIENCE DEALING WITH
REFUGEE CLAIMANTS, AND WE HAVE A
SOCIETY THAT IS VERY USED TO
THIS.
AND THE PEOPLE THAT ARE USED TO
DEALING WITH REFUGEE CLAIMANTS,
THEY ARE SO OPEN.
YOU KNOW, IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOODS,
WE RECEIVE DONATIONS AT OUR
FRONT DOOR EVERY SINGLE DAY.
PEOPLE COME AND ASK, "WHAT ELSE
DO YOU NEED?"
PEOPLE VOLUNTEER.
SO IN MY OPINION, WHEN THE
PEOPLE START GETTING USED TO THE
SITUATION AND THEY SEE THAT THE
OTHER HUMAN BEING IS A NICE
PERSON TO WELCOME, THEY OPEN
THEIR HOUSES, THEIR DOORS, YOU
KNOW WHAT I MEAN?
AND WE WELCOME EVERYBODY.
SO I DON'T SEE A PROBLEM WITH
THE INCREASE.

The caption changes to "Producer: Jane Burke, @JBurkeTweets."

Steve says CAN WE SAY GRACIAS
TO FRANCISCO RICO-MARTINEZ FROM
THE FCJ REFUGEE CENTRE AND
AUDREY MACKLIN, HUMAN RIGHTS ,
CRAIG DAMIAN SMITH, GLOBALAFFAIRS.
THANKS SO MUCH EVERYBODY.

Watch: Seeking Asylum in Ontario