Border direct-backs and detention

Resolution number
  1. In June of 1996, in response to the U.S. INS detention of Canada-bound refugee claimants and the subsequent processing of said claimants for deportation, the CCR passed a resolution urging CIC to cease turning refugee claimants back to the U.S.;
  2. INS detentions of Canada-bound refugee claimants have continued and, in fact, broadened in 1998 to include detentions in the Niagara Region, Blackpool and Minnesota;
  3. INS has continued to detain certain refugee claimants, even after such claimants have received Canadian eligibility determinations, thereby denying these claimants the opportunity to pursue their refugee claims in Canada;
  4. In an April 29, 1998 letter to the President of the CCR, the Acting Director General of the Enforcement Branch, CIC NHQ, stated, " is our policy that no person will be returned to the United States where there is reason to believe that they will be removed from the U.S. before the scheduled eligibility determination or would otherwise be unavailable because of detention. We are reviewing our procedures manual to ensure that this is clearly understood";
  5. Despite the above-cited policy, CIC in the Niagara Region has continued to direct refugee claimants back to the United States to await eligibility determinations, which has resulted in the detention of a troubling number of people;
  6. CIC's practice at certain border crossings of closing the border to refugee claimants on certain days of the week or at certain times of the year has also led to U.S. detentions of Canada-bound refugees awaiting Canadian processing;
Therefore be it resolved

That the CCR urge CIC to:

  1. Process refugee claimants immediately upon their arrival at the border, rather than closing the border to refugee claimants on certain days of the week or at certain times of the year.
  2. Discontinue the practice of directing refugee claimants back to the United States.
  3. In cases where Canada-bound refugee claimants have been detained by the INS, request that INS release such individuals to Canada to proceed with Canadian refugee claims.
Working Group
Inland Protection