It seems everyone is on edge regarding the latest executive order announced by US President Trump – and those who are not even on edge can’t help but talk about the newest onslaught of immigration news.
Every newspaper in North America, if not the world, has its papers filled with immigration news and who / who can’t enter the USA. Most recently there seems to be a high increase of refugee asylum seekers that are taking taxis to the Canada/USA border and risking their lives in the cold terrain into Manitoba. Earlier, the travel ban of seven designated countries by Trump caused outrage which was eventually struck down by the courts.
Whether the president can overrule the courts will be determined later but there is no doubt that the current atmosphere in the Trump administration is to clean up America and to take measures to remove those who are not wanted. In Trump’s defence, he wants to rid of terrorists. That is fine. However, the manner in which he is doing so is the problem. Unfortunately, the train has left the station and Trump is taking many steps to make good on his election promises.
One important question that many are asking is if Trump’s immigration policies can affect Filipinos? Yes, they can in several indirect ways. Firstly, if a Filipino national is present in the USA with a criminal record, Trump has announced that steps are being taken to deport such individuals. Filipinos who have no status in the USA are also at risk as Trump’s next overhaul is to eliminate illegal immigration. Finally, a Filipino who is also a Canadian Citizen will be subject to the new law ( Bill C-23 ) introduced by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale that is likely to pass in the current sitting of Parliament.
The bill solidifies the law of the reciprocal agreement for customs and immigration pre-clearance signed by the governments of Stephen Harper and Barack Obama in 2015. Both houses of Congress passed the U.S. version of the bill in December. Pre-clearance allows Canadian visitors to the U.S. to clear U.S. Customs and Immigration while still in Canada at a Canadian port of departure.
Under the proposed law, US immigration officers will have the authority to ask all passengers (even while on Canadian soil) to identify themselves and to answer a series of questions. They can also demand to see your phone and demand your password. Physical searches are also permitted.
Now, if a person does not like the way the interview is going, it may not be so easy to just turn around and go home. Passengers now can be held and forced to explain the reasons for leaving, and to explain their reasons for wanting to withdraw. That is the scary part.
Another aspect of C-23 is that a CBSA agent posted at a U.S. airport has the right to prevent a permanent resident from boarding a flight to Canada. The resident would have the option to drive or find a ride to a land border, where their legal right to enter Canada would still apply. Currently, all permanent residents with a valid PR card have a right to enter Canada even if they violated the residency requirements. Now, it seems that these individuals, if stopped abroad, will not be able to board a flight and must drive to Canada. This may be impractical for many who must enter urgently and/or are departing far from a Canadian land border.
Attorney Henry Moyal is a certified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto, Ontario. The above article is general advice only and is not intended to act as a legal document. Send questions to Attorney Moyal by email email@example.com or call 416 733 3193