Envisioning LGBT Asylum in Canada: Is Canada a Safe Haven?
Presentation of findings based on the various themes which emerged from the research regarding the experiences of LGBT refugee and asylum seekers populations to Toronto. The research is based on qualitative interviews and focus groups with the mentioned populations as well as service providers working in the resettlement sector. Additionally, the presentation will include recommendations Envisioning is calling for to address the numerous issues and concerns presented.
My (freshly tenured!) colleague Sean Rehaag sent me all the raw materials for a post on this current issue.
Here is a link to the Parliamentary website for the bill, and here is a link to Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s description of the changes that the bill will bring in.
“Too many tax dollars are spent on bogus refugees. We need to send a message to those who would abuse Canada’s generous asylum system that if you are not in need of protection, you will be sent home quickly,” added Minister Kenney.
…the Minister will be given the power to designate certain countries as safe. Refugee claimants from those countries will not get access to the full refugee determination system (including the appeal at the Refugee Appeal Division).
This will have disproportionate effects on refugees facing persecution on account of gender and/or sexual orientation, because empirical research shows that such refugees disproportionately come from countries with low overall success rates (even though this subset of claimants from those countries do quite well). In other words: countries that are safe for most folks may not be safe for women and sexual minorities.
….the process through which the Minister designates countries as safe does not take these differences into account. You can see some of the empirical research on grant rates for gender/sexual orientation claims in my article, Do Women Refugee Judges Really Make a Difference? (http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1963924).
It’s hard to keep up with all the vicious legislation being proposed (and passed) these days.
Disparities in Asylum Adjudication and Proposals for Reform
Philip G. Schrag & Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Commentary by Sean Rehaag
14 October 2010 (12:30pm – 2:20pm) 626 York Research Tower
Refreshments will be served
Immigration law practitioners in the United States have long suspected that the likelihood of winning asylum depends in large measure on which asylum officer or immigration judge is assigned to adjudicate a case. Following the presentation, Sean Rehaag will present comparative data on the Canadian refugee determination system, focusing on the large differences between the US and Canadian refugee determination systems in the effects of adjudicator gender on refugee claim outcomes.
My Osgoode colleague who will be provide commentary, Sean Rehaag, forwarded this invitation. He writes:
While the talk is about empirical research on refugee determinations, one of the key focuses of [my]commentary will be on the difference in the effects of the gender of judges on refugee claim outcomes in Canada and the United States.
“It turns out that, in the US, female refugee adjudicators have much higher grant rates than male adjudicators, leading some scholars to suggest that these striking differences provide support for the contention that male and female judges approach judging in distinctly gendered manners (see e.g. Carrie Menkel-Meadow, “Asylum in a Different Voice? Judging Immigration Claims and Gender” in Jaya Ramji-Nogales, Andrew Schoenholtz & Philip Schrag (eds.), Refugee Roulette: Disparities in Asylum Adjudication and Proposals for Reform (New York: NYU Press, 2009) 202). However, in Canada the grant rates of male adjudicators are slightly higher than the rates for female adjudicators. One of the things that we will be discussing is why the effect of adjudicator gender is so striking in the US, but is only relatively small in Canada — and what this might mean for those who see evidence of essential gender differences in judging in the US data.”