Historically, Canada has held a world renowned reputation as nation with a magnanimous ideological approach to providing asylum to those individuals subjected to marginalization and persecution in their homeland – regardless of their nation of origin (Ismaili, 2011, p.89 & 92). Indeed, providing sanctuary to refugees who would otherwise experience significant hardships ranging from blatant discrimination and racism to torture and genocide, has very much become an institutionalized aspect of Canadian society. However, recent changes to Canada’s immigration policy delineated in the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Bill C-31 may have perhaps put this ideology in peril (Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, 2001).
One of the more disconcerting aspects of Bill C-31 is the newly adopted Designated Country of Origin (DCO) legislation which has permanently labeled particular nations as “safe”. Consequently, individuals claiming refugee status who originate from these countries no longer have the same rights and privileges afforded to their refugee counterparts from other nations (“Overview of C-31,” 2013). In turn, this has led to a dichotomy between those who view this change as necessary in order to diminish the influx of embellished and falsified refugee claims and those who view this policy as discriminatory and prejudiced towards people originating from certain nations.
The Case for DCO Legislation
The primary purpose of the DCO legislation introduced in Bill C-31 is deterrence; by combating the influx of refugees who are abusing the immigration system by residing in Canada when they are in no immediate danger in their native homeland, it is hoped that the number of false refugee claims will be drastically reduced. DCO designation is largely predicated on historical respect for human rights and whether a nation contains an independent judiciary (“Making Canada’s Asylum,” 2012). Consequently, Bill C-31 contends that certain countries do not generally pose a threat to the safety and security of refugee claimants. It is hoped that this will create a more efficient immigration process with unfounded DCO refugee claimants returned to their “safe” home country in a more expedited manner (Designated Countries of Origin, 2013).
In addition, it has long been suggested that a more restrictive immigration policy would vastly reduce the economic costs associated with caring for the thousands of refugees residing in Canada under false pretenses (Jiwani, 2011, p.49). Indeed, a major benefit emanating from Bill C-31 is the savings of $1.6 billion in social assistance and education capital (“Making Canada’s Asylum,” 2012). More money would also be saved on the costs associated with reviewing false refugee claims and on law enforcement costs associated with the removal of said persons from Canada (Designated Countries of Origin, 2013).
Some have even gone so far as to argue that the dramatic increase in refugees from Third World...