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Saturday, April 24, 2004

Queer eye for the straight "refugee"

In the middle of a Globe and Mail story about bogus homosexual refugee claims in Canada, we find this:

Michael Battista, a gay immigration lawyer, says many of the gay Mexicans he has represented are HIV-positive and have trouble getting jobs and medical care back home. "These cases tend to have a higher acceptance rate," he said.

So if you are considering pretending to gay in order to claim refugee status in Canada, remember; it is better to be sick and unemployed--that way you will jump to the front of the queue.

Posted by Kevin Steel on April 24, 2004 | Permalink


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I posted the following comment to a post at the Shotgun. I think it is worth repeating here (as is a link to the original Globe and Mail article that started the discussion). I notice the Globe and Mail article... [Read More]

Tracked on 2004-04-24 8:45:31 AM


I notice the Globe and Mail article gives two grounds for the "bogus" quality of some claims. First, the claimant may not actually be gay. Second, the claimant may come from a country where gay people are not persecuted. I hope we could agree these cases coult accurately be described as bogus.

I would further hope we could agree there are many countries - the article cites countries where homosexuality is outlawed - from which a legitimate refugee claim could be made.

Posted by: Ghost of a flea | 2004-04-24 8:43:04 AM

Ghost: The second point in your comment confuses the issue. The problem is not in determining what countries outlaw homosexual behavior, but in determining whether the claimant is homosexual.

As the Globe story notes, it is difficult to verify, unlike political and religious affiliations where refugee boards look to the claimant to provide proof.

So boards are going to be forced to come up with some kind of standard. As I note in my post, it will help bogus refugee claimants to be sick and unemployed because, according to the way I read Battista's remarks, those people are given greater sympathy.

The reason I highlighted Battista's remarks is because they touch on a few other issues. If boards continue to accept claimants from countries where homosexuality is not outlawed and do so because of claimed persecution in the workforce or denial of medical services, boards will not only have to determine whether the claimant is homosexual, but also whether he or she is truly being persecuted at work or at the hospital, or whether they are just coming from a country where there is high unemployment and healthcare is not free.

Posted by: Kevin Steel | 2004-04-24 10:17:55 AM

Please allow me to clarify my purpose in adding the second part of my earlier commet. It seems to me what we need to establish is that the standard of proof for refugee claimants is adequate and that they are applied equitably regardless of the grounds for the claim. If preferential treatment is being made toward this or that group of claimants such treatment should be explicit and would have to be justified on some broader policy grounds (for example, in the Canada's strategic interest, as a reflection of current armed conflict, etc.). All I ask is that people making a refugee claim on the basis of sexual orientation not get singled out for special treatment either way.

Gay men have been thrown into cesspits by Palestinian "authorities", off walls by the Taliban and are regularly beheaded by the Saudi government. I would hope refugees from those contexts merit the sympathy and help of all Canadians and that their legitimate claims not get lost in the bogus claims of others trying to jump the immigration line.

As for sickness and unemployment... who can say if these should be taken into account in Canadian refugee policy. A higher authority was sympathetic to both. Mark 2:17

Posted by: Ghost of a flea | 2004-04-24 12:08:25 PM

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