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Open wide the floodgates?

Much of the initial media reaction to the recently released Plaut Report on the refugee status determination process unfortunately has given the impression that the changes proposed will in some sense give rise to "gatecrashing" by persons unwilling to comply with ordinary immigration requirements, thereby jeopardizing the ability of Canada to ensure the integrity of its borders. We are told that the adoption of the study's proposals would "encourage purported refugees to arrive here in numbers that would soon overwhelm [the proposed] procedures" (Globe and Mail editorial, June 20, 1985).

This is far from accurate.

It is certainly true that the Plaut Report proposes several important liberalizations to the process by which we assess claims to refugee status. These include the right of a refugee claimant to argue his case at an oral hearing and to have his case decided by an unbiased and knowledgable authority. Furthermore, the Report insists that refugee claimants with genuine financial need have a right to work rather than being expected to either starve or panhandle until a decision is made as to whether or not they can remain in Canada. Are these kinds of policies, which are largely required by principles of either domestic or international law, really such as to draw tens of thousands of fraudulent asylum seekers from around the world to Canada?


Work published when author not on Michigan Law faculty. Copyright the authors, 1985. This open-access work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, which permits use, reproduction and distribution in any medium for non-commercial purposes, provide the original author(s) are credited and the original publication in Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees is cited.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License