Would White-Refugee Huntley case force rethink on Canadian refugee policies?
One definite positive fallout of the Huntley case is that the debate on the Canadian Refugee system has started.
The refugee system in Canada has been far from perfect. Apart from the massive backlog that is increasing each day, it is plagued by cumbersome deportation process that defies all the logic. Even in open and shut cases like the one of Laibar Singh from Punjab took more than nine months and millions of dollars of tax payer’s money.
Huntley case has given the whole refugee immigration system debate a new turn. Never in the recent history, the charges of racial discrimination in granting refugee status been so loud and vociferous.
Historically, apart from invasions form neighboring countries, it has been only white people that had been ruling different countries; be it Asian countries like India, Pakistan or be in South Africa. In this background and mindset, the question that a white man can be refugee or persecuted for color of his skin is simply unpalatable to many. Poor Michael Jackson spent millions of dollars to get white skin from black!!.
There are some definite cracks in the process that allows refugee status. No doubt, the system has been intended as one of the best and non-discriminatory in the world. Yet the way it is being implemented, leaves a lot to be desired. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is setting the stage for major reforms he insists are needed to fast-track claimants from supposedly safe countries.
Urgency of such refugee system reforms can be judged form simple fact that under the present system it takes about 20 months to process a refugee application and in case refugee status is disallowed to an applicant, his final removal / deportation can take another 6 years, given the way appeals are disposed off.
Ideally, the application should be processed in four months and the appeal process be completed in next six months.