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No One Is Illegal Condemns Trudeau’s attempt to let CBSA -- Canada’s ICE -- stop asylum seekers from applying for refugee status at the border

April 14, 2019

On Monday, The Trudeau Liberals attempted to push a terrifying expansion of the border into a 392-page budget bill. If passed, Bill C-97 would prevent all asylum seekers who have been turned away by countries like the UK, Australia, New Zealand and the USA -- who have some of the harshest deportation and detentions regimes in the world -- from applying in Canada.

"Bill-C97 is an attack on asylum seekers, a criminalization of migration, and the right to work, and a coordinated attempt to make the poor and racialized endlessly insecure. Individuals do not seek asylum lightly; seeking asylum is an act of desperation, the act of seeking refuge. We are disgusted by legislation that criminalizes the poor and pits the precarious against the dehumanized." Maya Menezes, organizer with No One Is Illegal - Toronto

If this was not enough, the Ford government in Ontario has announced yesterday massive cuts to social assistance and legal funding for those most in need -- including asylum seekers and refugees now saddled with massive legal fees for federally-mandated protracted wait-times in applications.

This is an assault on refugees, immigrants and the most vulnerable in our communities, and No One Is Illegal is urging people to call or email their local MP’s or Trudeau himself (613-992-4211, Fax: 613-941-6900, and make it clear that the Liberal Government cannot get away with this kind of racism and anti-migrant hatred.


Division 16 of Bill C-97 would make it impossible for people coming from the “5-I” countries (countries that have agreed to share information regarding immigration: the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) who have made a refugee claim in any of those countries to make a claim in Canada. These are countries with racist immigration policies, and harsh border-enforcement laws -- both the UK and Australia indefinitely detain migrants, and the US has recently removed protected status for thousands of refugees from Caribbean and Central American countries. This bill would make it impossible for these refugees, and thousands more, to even apply for asylum here.

What’s more, this bill would force people who have made a Federal Review of their rejected applications to wait a year before making other applications to remain. This is a denial of refugee claimants’ legal rights to have their cases heard federally, and to make expedient subsequent applications.

“This flies in the face of international law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, all Trudeau is doing is opening the doors to outrage from migrant communities and costly litigation.” -- MacDonald Scott, Carranza LLP Law Firm, member of the Law Union of Ontario.

All of this comes at the same time as a continued attack on the poor, the marginalized, and all migrants here in Ontario as Ford’s Conservatives released a budget which takes away all legal aid for refugee claims, and cuts crucial social assistance funding. This is not only an attack on the legal rights of all people including asylum seekers, but also the right to live with dignity.

Bill C-97 Division 16 would both cast thousands into limbo and poverty here, as well as slam the door in the face of untold numbers of people in the future. This abhorrent hardening of already-racist, classist and oppressive border policies should terrify anyone who values human dignity and believes that No One Is Illegal, and we call on the public to call their representatives, to organize in their communities, and to join existing networks standing against racism, and for the rights of migrants everywhere: resources are available at and

For more information contact:
Maya Menezes
No One Is Illegal
Phone: 647-832-3963

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