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Border agents criticized for entering shelter

March 2010

It boggles my mind how CBSA agents can suddenly become the bad guys just because they are enforcing Canada’s immigration laws (Border agents criticized for entering shelter, March 8, 2010). I think it is pretty galling that Toronto Rape Crisis Centre spokesman Deborah Singh can say that CBSA agents are harassing women. If you are ordered deported, and you go into hiding to escape deportation, you are breaking the law and you are a criminal.  It’s not harassment; it’s called upholding the laws of Canada and the decisions of our
courts.


Especially galling is Bernadette Dondo’s (of Nellies Women’s Shelter) statement that, “The last thing we need is the bullies from CBSA barging in to re-traumatize them.”  I’m quite sure that the CBSA agents didn’t come marching into the shelter like Nazi Stormtroopers, treating everyone like doggy-do-do.  Like all peace officers, they are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner.  I’m sorry to hear that the women Dondo sees are recovering from trauma, but that is no excuse for hiding from the lawful authorities.  Being traumatized
and being an illegal immigrant are two different issues. 

Maybe if all immigration applicants kept the CBSA advised of their current residence, reported to immigration court when required and immediately turned themselves into deportation centres when their applications are denied, then maybe CBSA agents wouldn’t have to come into a shelter looking for them, or using other tactics that, while lawful, may come across as heavy handed.  Women’s shelters shouldn’t be used when you want to avoid a lawful deportation order.

 

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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