The Rhetoric of Criminalization

Despite Canada’s claim of “compassion” and “generosity”, the fact is that the number of refugees in the government resettlement program is at an all-time low. In addition, with the changes to the refugee system in Canada, the number of refugee claimants has decreased significantly, with fewer claims in 2013 than in any year since the early 1980s. Along with the dramatic fall of refugee claims, the number of those claims accepted has dropped 40% since 2001. In light of these figures, it is difficult to see how Canada has maintained its international obligation for the protection of refugees.

As Canadians, we are told who the “real” refugees are and to criminalize those whom the government deem other. Does oppression only exist in political instability? Do persecutions only occur outside of democracy? With the continual emphasis Canada’s own selection of “real” refugees, all other refugees by the government’s logic must be “bogus”.

By denying the persecution and oppression faced by all refugees, we are simply perpetuating and recommitting the same horrors that these refugees faced in their countries of origin. We call refugee as freeloaders, as taking advantage of the system, yet the current system afford refugees no justice with its unreasonable timeline and discriminatory process.

 True justice must be given to foreigners living among you and to orphans, and you must never accept a widow’s garment as security for her debt.  Always remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God redeemed you from your slavery. That is why I have given you this command. (Deuteronomy 24:17-18)