WINNIPEG — It’s a dangerous trek asylum seekers are making by the hundreds as they flee a fear of deportation and look to call Canada home.
It’s a story that is very familiar to Yahya Samatar. The Somalian now lives and works in Winnipeg after illegally crossing into the country in August 2015.
“That decision was quite difficult,” Samatar said. “But it was the only option I had.”
Samatar was a human rights activist in his home country and helped young children get out of the militia. However, it was a tough job that put his life in danger daily.
How Things Have Changed
For many of the 350 refugees seeking asylum in Manitoba since January 2017, it will likely take much longer than the average 60 days for their claim to be approved or denied.
The tribunal schedules time for two claims to be heard each day, one seating in the morning and one in the afternoon.
However, depending on how complicated cases are they could take much longer.
Immigration lawyers handling many of the cases in Winnipeg are overwhelmed.
Alastair Clarke has more than 80 open cases waiting to be heard by the tribunal and said many that have dates are being cancelled.
“Right now, I have hearings once or twice per week,” Clarke said. “These cases are moving through the system so slowly and so many of these hearings are being postponed.”
Last week, Clarke said five of the seven hearings set to go before the tribunal were postponed and no new dates were given.