Damage to a downtown Vancouver neighborhood by the racist Asiatic Exclusion League, September, 1907. In the last hundred or so years, it’s astonishing how little has changed, at least in the way our government treats non-white immigrants.
If you ever wondered how fucked-up our immigration policy has become, wonder no more. Just look at how our lovely right-wing government treats refugees from what is surely the most despised and ridiculed régime on the planet right now:
A recent decision by the refugee appeal tribunal to side with Ottawa and overturn a North Korean woman’s refugee status has sent shockwaves among asylum seekers who fled the Communist regime.
Minseo Kim, 45, and her daughter, Sangah Rhee, 2, came to Canada via South Korea in early 2013 and were granted asylum by the Immigration and Refugee Board in April.
However, Immigration Minister Chris Alexander successfully appealed the decision with the board’s newly established refugee appeal division, arguing that Kim and Rhee should not be recognized as refugees because North Koreans are automatically South Korean citizens.
Gee, you’d think such a bunch of fascists as we have in government here would never miss a chance to stick their fingers in the eye of Kim Jong-un. After all, he’s a dirty commie. But no, their own cheapskate capitalist tendencies have got the better of them:
Historically, North Korean refugees have had an acceptance rate over 50 per cent, peaking at 72 per cent in 2010. However, the number of claims has been steadily creeping up. In 2012 alone, 718 new claims were received, prompting concern from the federal government.
“Concern”? A few hundred refugee claims, back in the old days, wouldn’t have been cause for batting an eyelash. If these had been white Eastern Europeans back in the Cold War era, the government would have waved them though, and maybe even discreetly pumped them for sensitive information on their countries of origin, if they seemed in a position to give any.
As it is, this government is only too happy to import cheap Chinese labor for the tar sands and its associated pipeline projects. It’s hardly “concerned” about all the jobs Canadian workers stand to lose under those circumstance. So why make an issue of a few little Korean refugees? How much taxpayer money could they possibly eat up? Why are they so “concerned” that we are a more popular refugee destination of choice than our neighbor to the south?
At this rate, one wonders why we have a refugee policy at all. Why not bring back the old anti-Asian exclusion laws, if you’re going to be this irrational and hateful?
A pregnant woman from North Korea who is still waiting for a refugee hearing had her interim federal health coverage stripped in November, said Wright, because immigration officials deemed her a South Korean national. She gave birth at Sunnybrook hospital and is now $3,000 in debt.
“This is outrageous,” said Wright. “It just shows the mean-spiritedness of the government.”
Over the past year, Ottawa has designated 35 countries as “safe” for refugees and added South Korea to the list in May. It said it has no plan to put the “safe country” label on North Korea.
Given that North Korean refugees are treated as spies and enemy aliens in the “safe” South, this move could hardly be more cynical.