In a nutshell, his officials and appointees don’t think it matters.
The Ottawa Citizen’s Don Butler has been assiduously digging into the practices of the Immigration and Refugee Board and of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration. He’s found an interesting pattern: five recent cases of rejection of refugee claims by battered women, all of which have been overturned by the federal court.
The women involved—no surprise here at all—are all Black or Hispanic. What they fled from was horrendous. In one case the victim was beaten and raped in front of her children, who remain traumatized. So what? A Kenney official improperly dismissed that claim: the judge called his analysis “unreasonable.”
Those who work in the field have not fully realized what is happening, according to the report, but the figures don’t lie:
Under the Harper government, acceptance of refugee claims from applicants already in Canada has fallen sharply, from nearly 16,000 in 2006 to just more than 9,000 last year. The number of successful applicants on compassionate and humanitarian grounds, which had been averaging between 10,000 and 11,000 a year, fell to 8,848 in 2010.
Those numbers may reflect Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s publicly expressed concerns about fraudulent refugee claimants, illegal migrants or other abusers of the system, said Audrey Macklin, a University of Toronto professor who specializes in immigration, refugee and citizenship law.
Kenney appoints IRB members, while those who assess H&C applications work for his ministry, Macklin noted. Given his message of “hostility and skepticism toward asylum-seekers,” she said, “one should be concerned that this may exert an illegitimate influence on decision makers.”
No kidding. Kenney has recently chosen simply to ignore the rule of law, so eager is he to keep the brownskins out. And when the courts overrule his officials, his response is to launch a full-bore attack on the judicial system. Quoth Kenney, perhaps referring to these very court decisions:
Cases in which, seemingly on a whim, or perhaps in a fit of misguided magnanimity, a judge overturns the careful decisions of multiple levels of diligent, highly trained public servants, tribunals, and even other judges. I believe most Canadians share my concern about such decisions. And I fear that such decisions do serious harm to the overall immigration system and prevent it from doing more good for deserving immigrants. And they undermine public confidence in the government’s ability to enforce our laws as passed by Parliament, and therefore in the entire system.
That’s the independent judiciary for you—making independent judicial rulings. Unlike, for example, the patronage-ridden Immigration and Refugee Board, and its grossly biased political appointees. For Kenney and his boss, judges—like Parliament—can be so damned inconvenient sometimes.