Audit of immigration detention review system reveals culture that favours incarceration

Posted
July 24, 2018
Article Source
Toronto Star

The first-ever audit into the way Canada reviews immigration detention cases reveals a system that unfairly keeps people behind bars for months on end due to ill-informed adjudicators and a culture that favours incarceration.

The damning findings, including decision-making based on inaccurate information, unchallenged faith in border enforcement officials and inadequate legal representation for detainees, have shocked even the most seasoned critics and rights advocates.

"Non-citizens have a right to liberty and to be protected from cruel and unusual treatment, but as this report shows, this right is routinely flouted under immigration legislation," said Janet Dench of the Canadian Council for Refugees.

Last year, 3,557 people were held in immigration detention in Canada. Eighty-eight per cent of detainees were released within 90 days. But in 80 cases, people were held for more than a year behind bars.

A Star investigation last year found an immigration detention system that indefinitely warehouses non-citizens, away from public scrutiny and in conditions intended for a criminal population, with hundreds of unwanted immigrants left to languish behind bars. Ebrahim Toure, 46, a failed refugee claimant who has been detained for five years pending deportation to Gambia, is currently the longest serving immigration detainee.

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