Imprisoned refuge seekers may submit their case before a judge in Canada

Oscar Vigil

Toronto, Glen. In a decision widely celebrated by defense agencies immigrants and refugees, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that asylum seekers arriving in the country and are incarcerated, have the right to challenge their detention extended before a Superior Court judge.

The decision was taken by a vote of 6-1 in favor, in the case of Tusif Ur Rehman Chhina, a Pakistani citizen who challenged his continued detention in remand center in Calgary maximum security, Province of Alberta. He was arrested because he was considered a security risk.

As established standards refuge in Canada, his case was reviewed on a regular basis by an immigration court, who repeatedly he ordered his detention to continue because of what he considered a flight risk if the detainee was released.

Although Chhina was stripped of his refugee status and deported to Pakistan in 2017, the US Supreme Court agreed to hear his case because rarely decides on the ancient legal device known as "habeas corpus", which is the right to have the validity of a detention is reviewed to determine whether it is legal or not. The principle is enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of Canada.

The ruling of the Supreme Court released the weekend cancels an exception that forces migrants without Canadian citizenship to challenge detention for immigration purposes only through immigration court or a federal judicial review.

Eusebio Garcia works for the Committee for Refugees Quakers, in Toronto, and it ensures that the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada is a victory for humanitarian organizations and for the group of lawyers who have historically been advocating for this right.

"It's a step in the right direction and is good news for people who will benefit, as they are locked up without having committed any crime but simply because the authorities decided to lock them up. Without any judgment against them sometimes they condemn them to be locked up without access to any help so they can get out of jail ", he explained.

Eusebio Garcia, Salvadoran origin, is a community worker who visits every Thursday Immigration Detention Center in Toronto and explains that when a person is detained at a port of entry usually sent to immigration detention center while their status is resolved, but if the authorities decide to keep them detained for a prolonged time, They send them to the provincial prisons.

This is an unjust situation, raises García, who says, although the number of people arrested for such situations of Latin American origin is not very high, "in the end, a detained person and is much ... is a matter of justice ".

Meanwhile, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada, Alex Snow, said “the right to freedom is a fundamental human right. This decision vindicates immigration detainees who have been denied their freedom for years and years without any meaningful opportunity to challenge this injustice and restore freedom”.

The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Garcia organization is member, He also explained that the detainees do not always get a fair hearing in the country's immigration system, and that imprisonment can have serious repercussions.

“Arrest often it has devastating effects, even if it's only for a short period, particularly for children, asylum seekers, trafficked persons and persons suffering from mental health problems”, he raised.