The government of Canada was recently taken to court over Covid policies that pushed people back to the US
Published by Paragon Legal Services on 06th May, 2021
A legal action was filed against the federal government of Canada early in May 2021 concerning their policy of returning immigrants seeking asylum and trying to enter Canada between official border crossings of the USA. Human Rights lawyers from the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers filed the action in the federal court. They claimed that turning away persons at the border was unlawful because the policy failed to consider any reasonable alternatives.
During the pandemic, many human rights cases have been brought before the federal court of Canada for claims from citizens and immigrants alike. This particular action was the first of its kind since the policy was introduced in March of 2020 to help deal with the spread of Covid-19 throughout the provinces.
However, some are saying that it may not be the last as more lawyers are being contacted with human rights concerns throughout Canada. In a new release in May 2021, Reuters claimed that the action was caused by asylum-seekers that attempted to cross between ports of entry and were halted by Canadian immigration forces.
The government of Canada claimed that they would be allowed to return at a later date to make refugee claims but human rights lawyers are arguing that there is no assurance that refugees may even be able to return.
The government of Canada also claims that this Covid policy is a health measure and it has renewed the policy monthly. It also claims that the United States has assured them that asylum-seekers will be able to return to Canada in the future to pursue refugee claims once the policies no longer need to be implemented.
However, the US has been forced to deport asylum-seekers under the policy as they were not able to successfully enter into Canada. According to the government, 9 persons who were entering as refugees under the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship pathway were turned away and 7 have been allowed to migrate to Canada.
One person, according to Reuters, was allowed to enter under an exemption after being detained for 5 months and he subsequently filed a refugee claim.
Human Rights lawyers and consultants are now claiming that deferred deportations due to health reasons are a humanitarian crisis as persons would have undergone a tremendous hardship to make their way to the United States and then into Canada.
A spokeswoman for Canada's Public Safety Minister said she could not comment on the legal action specifically but stated in an email, "We are in an unprecedented global pandemic. The border is closed to all non-residents of Canada, with very few exceptions..."
In spite of all this, many asylum-seekers are claiming that their fundamental rights have been breached and their attorneys are standing behind their clients.
If you feel that you may have a claim as an asylum-seeker or refugee, contact a qualified attorney today for help and find out more about your claim.