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Immigration lawyers report Canadian Muslims being denied entry to U.S.
A number of Canadian Muslims have been turned away at the Canada-U.S. border in recent weeks, immigration lawyers say.
Those denied entry include a prominent Guyana-born Toronto imam who serves as a chaplain with the Peel Regional Police and an Iraqi Turkmen community leader who has family members fighting ISIS in the Middle East.
The two men — who were denied entry at different border crossings and were not travelling together — are among at least six Canadian Muslim men who have been denied entry at the U.S. border over the last two weeks.
The men and their families, all of whom are Canadian citizens, were given little in the way of explanation by border officials for the decision to deem them inadmissible.
Neither Guyana nor Iraq are among the seven Muslim-majority countries subject to U.S. President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” executive order, which essentially blocks refugees and visitors from those countries from entering the U.S.
Both men were told to apply for visas at the U.S. consulate in Toronto before returning to the border to seek entry — an unusual process for people who hold Canadian passports.
The six men are represented by the Toronto-area immigration firm CILF — Caruso Guberman Appleby. Lawyers there say that if they’re seeing this level of activity at their law firm, there may be many other Canadian nationals facing similar problems at the border.
“We’ve seen a lot more in the last few weeks and we don’t know what to attribute it to. We know the climate there in the U.S. has changed, it’s a bit different, but at the same time there are processes and procedures and people should be afforded opportunities to challenge a case,” Daud Ali, a lawyer at CILF, told CBC News.
“But it’s hard to know what you’re going up against when you’re not told why you’re denied entry. The fact that they’re all Muslims, that raises some concerns about whether these people are being targeted or if this is a new form of some sort of ban…”
“Having worked as an immigration lawyer for over 40 years nothing surprises me anymore but, in all my years, I have never seen such a Kafkaesque scenario,” said Joel Guberman, a partner at the firm.
When asked if there has been a new directive in recent weeks with respect to Muslim travellers from Canada, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said the agency “has not had any new policy changes.”
While unable to speak to specific cases because of privacy laws, the CBP spokesperson said “applicants for admission bear the burden of proof to establish that they are clearly eligible to enter the United States. In order to demonstrate that they are admissible, the applicant must overcome all grounds of inadmissibility.”
Canada has been rapidly expanding its African and Middle Eastern population and I expect more problems in the future with undesirables of all stripes crossing over from Canada. Looks like the Trump Admin is trying to get a handle on it!