Detention without review criminalizes refugees

Under Bill C-31 people seeking asylum can be designated “irregular arrivals” by the Minister of Public Safety. Those designated can be held in detention for a year, without review.

These measures criminalize people seeking safety and human rights. How people arrive says nothing about the genuineness of their refugee claim. We know QLGBT refugees escaping real persecution who have arrived in Canada by plane, boat, car, bicycle, and on foot—on their own, and sometimes through agents. For QLGBT refugees, seeking protection in neigboring countries is frequently unsafe or impossible, and so they leave and travel by any means possible. Mode of arrival is not a reason to detain people.

Detention harms refugees, and is expensive for Canadians. An Auditor General of Canada’s report states that it costs $120-238 dollars per day to keep an asylum seeker in detention. In 2008, Canada spent $45.7 million detaining refugees, a 26% increase from previous years.

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