Free Presentation: Law in the Library

As part of the Law in the Library series, Alastair Clarke will be giving a free presentation to the public on October 19, 2017 at St. Boniface Library at 131 Provencher Boulevard. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Free Presentation

Topics:

Please note that we cannot give individual legal advice during this free presentation. The purpose of the presentation is for information purposes and to inform the public on changes to Canadian Immigration Law. We constantly talk to clients who hear wrong information or information that is out of date. The laws in Canada for immigration and refugees are constantly in flux. Our goal is to make sure that Manitobans understand the laws so they can avoid mistakes and they have clear expectations when they submit applications to IRCC or CBSA of any of the Visa Offices around the world.

For more information, check out the CLEA Website for more details and to RSVP.

CLEA’s Mission Statement:

CLEA is a charitable organization that provides legal information to Manitobans. We believe that legal knowledge is necessary for full and equal participation in our society.

CLEA develops programs and resources especially to work with communities where there are understood needs. These services help individuals better understand our legal system and how to resolve their legal issues.

Goals

Program Strategy

To meet the diverse information needs of our community, we have adopted the following objectives to help us plan our programs:

  • Individuals Focus To provide information about the law, legal system and sources of legal assistance in response to requests.
  • Intermediaries Focus To provide service providers and representative groups with information about: the law, legal system, sources of legal assistance and law reform.

Access to Justice Focus

To identify barriers and promote possible solutions to support a more equitable and accessible justice system that is responsive to the needs of Manitoba’s diverse communities.

“Seeking Asylum: How ‘very skilled’ asylum seekers are contributing to Manitoba’s economy”

FROM GLOBALNEWS.CA

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.

Read the full article…

Presentation: Refugee Crisis in Manitoba

Please note that Alastair Clarke accepted an invitation to present at Menno Simons College tomorrow on the Refugee Crisis in Manitoba. Regular readers of this blog will know that Clarke Immigration Law has provided legal services to many of the refugee claimants who are coming to Canada from the United States. Many of this people, including women and children, are crossing on foot.

The event itself is from 12:30-1:20. Each presenter has 10 minutes to share on some aspect of the current migrant refugee crisis affecting out city and surrounding areas.

Though our event is over lunchtime, we are only able to provide a snack.

Alastair will be talking about  areas of refugee law:

  1. How the Safe Third Country Agreement is putting the people at risk
  2. An overview of the relevant sections of IRPA

The main focus of the presentation is to answer questions from the public and to engage discussion on these important issues. There has been a huge increase in the numbers of people who have been entering Manitoba and this refugee crisis is only going to get worse as the weather gets warmer and it becomes easier to cross. In addition, there is no indication that the American government is taking any steps to help the refugee claimants on their side of their border.

Advocates concerned about unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Canada

FROM THEWESTERNSTAR.COM

Immigration lawyer Alastair Clarke calls it a “travesty of justice.”

In Buffalo, N.Y., a client is currently living in a shelter, desperately awaiting news about how she might be reunited with her three young children, all under the age of 10.

The woman fled the small East-African country of Burundi with her kids and landed in the United States with a visitor’s visa, hopeful they could all eventually claim asylum in Canada, where her sister-in-law is a permanent resident, living in Winnipeg.

But when they did attempt to cross the border by bus it became clear another difficult journey was ahead.

Read the full article…

Success rates: Why some refugee claimants may have better odds in Canada

FROM NEWS1130.com

WINNIPEG – Bundled against bone-chilling cold, asylum-seekers hoping to gain refugee status in Canada have been trudging through ditches and fields along the border with the United States.

Many have already had refugee or asylum claims turned down in the U.S. and feel they may have more success in Canada. That assumption, say some immigration lawyers, is correct.

“I think that there is a lack of access to justice (for claimants in the United States),” said Bashir Khan, an immigration lawyer in Winnipeg.

“In most of Canada, you do get … a legal-aid assigned lawyer. You’re not put in immigration detention, so you are able to make long-distance calls to gather evidence that your lawyer may tell you is needed.”

Alastair Clarke, another immigration lawyer in the city, said he has represented people who have been rejected in the United States but are accepted in Canada.

“It happens regularly,” he said.

“In the United States, there’s a much higher rate of detention … and when the individual is detained, it’s much more difficult for them to access counsel. They have limited rights to legal counsel for legal advice, and the counsel who do represent them are often lawyers who don’t specialize in (immigration).”

Read the full article…

After the border

FROM WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Immigration experts say there’s no reason to fear ‘back door’ migrants

Concerns that asylum seekers streaming across the border into Canada could represent a security threat to the country might be understandable, but are not valid, says a law professor who has studied the results of refugee claimants.

That stereotype only serves to create racial tension, said Sean Rehaag, associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University in Toronto.

“You need to be very cautious about assertions that particular groups are more of a risk of security or criminality than other groups,” Rehaag said in an interview. “Almost any study suggests that criminality is less of a concern among recent newcomers than the settled population.”

Read the full article…

Canadian lawyers call for change to Safe Third Country Agreement amid influx of refugees

FROM THESTAR.COM

The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement bars refugees from seeking asylum in Canada after first landing in the U.S.

Immigration lawyers say they’ve received an influx of requests from refugees in the U.S. hoping to seek asylum in Canada — despite an agreement that makes it nearly impossible.

The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement requires people to apply for asylum in the first country where they arrive, unless an immediate family member lives in the other country.

The Canadian government has faced pressure to repeal the agreement since President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning travel and immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries. But Canada’s government has so far refused.

Alastair Clarke, of Clarke Immigration Law in Winnipeg, said that’s a mistake. He said 10 new clients have been referred to him in the last week — some of whom crossed the border on foot, successfully bypassing border points so they could make their refugee claims once already in the country.

Read the full article…

Syrian Refugees

When the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program was launched on 28 Sept 2015, Clarke Law was one of the first law firms in Canada to join. The goal of the program was to help the government reach its target of bringing in 25,000 Syrian refugees as part of its campaign promise. Immigration and refugee lawyers across Canada have been working and volunteering their time to make sure the applications are processed quickly, without issues.

In Winnipeg, Alastair Clarke agreed to assist the South Osborne Syrian Refugee Initiative pro bono (this means that legal services are provided at no cost). We are assisting a group of families who are currently in Lebanon. The Syrian refugees have each faced extreme hardship while in their home country and they have managed to make their way to relative safety in Lebanon. Unfortunately, they are still not safe. We are working to bring them to Winnipeg where they will be far from the violence and out of reach from the Syrian operatives who are still threatening their safety.

Paula Leslie and other organizers have been working hard to raise the funds to make sure the Syrian families have support once they reach Canada. News agencies, including the CBC, have been reporting their efforts:

Matthew Lawrence

Event Organizer Matthew Lawrence

Close to 350 people packed the Park Theatre on Tuesday night for a sold-out fundraising concert to help bring Syrian refugee families to Winnipeg.

The South Osborne Syrian Refugee Initiative teamed up with Churchill Park United Church for the benefit concert, which featured performances by The Bonaduces, Sweet Alibi and DJ Co-Op.

Event co-organizer Matthew Lawrence said the goal is to raise a total of $90,000 “so that we can hopefully sponsor three families” who have relatives already living in the city.

“We just felt really compelled to take some action,” Lawrence said.

Benefit concert co-organizer Matthew Lawrence says the goal is to raise a total of $90,000 to help sponsor three Syrian refugee families with relatives already living in Winnipeg. (CBC)

“We started by thinking maybe we could just get involved in something else, but we kind of kept waiting and waiting and nothing was happening, so we decided, ‘Let’s just start something ourselves.'”

A GoFundMe campaign launched by the South Osborne Syrian Refugee Initiative has already raised more than $60,000. Lawrence said he hopes the concert will raise another $10,000.

To show their appreciation, the group recently posted a testimonial on their Facebook page:Syrian Refugees

Accolades to immigration lawyer Alastair Clarke for assisting us with our applications. Alastair generously provided his services pro bono through the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program. Given that SOSRI was completing the dozens of forms as representatives for the five principal applicants we had a number of questions on how to address certain issues that a sponsoring group ordinarily wouldn’t have (most sponsoring groups apply and have UNHCR families/individuals assigned to them with papers/documents/histories complete). The IRRC toll free question line has extremely long wait times! We were very fortunate to be able to simply email and/or call Alastair with any questions throughout the application process.

They also write:

Along with Alastair’s professional integrity and his breadth of knowledge it is clear that he cares deeply for the issues and people that he works with. If you need an immigration lawyer – look no further. Thank you Alastair – your time and efforts are appreciated.

This work is not done. We will continue to support this group, and other groups, to make sure their transition to Canada is without any issues.

 

Immigration Questions from Presentations

These past few weeks have been very busy and we wanted to thank everyone for their support. At the PCCM event on Jan 30th, more than 100 people came to the event. The room was full and the audience was engaged. Last night, we have a presentation at Munroe Library in Winnipeg and, again, the room was packed and there was active participation. We met folks from Ukraine, Philippines, India, Pakistan, the USA, Nigeria, Egypt, Australia, El Salvador and many others. We answered many immigration questions. Here are some of the questions that Mr. Clarke answered during the 5 hours of presentations:

  • If my Super Visa is going to expire but my husband has submitted an In-Canada Spousal Sponsorship application, do I need to apply to extend my Visa?
  • Can I sponsor my brother in Punjab?Immigration Questions
  • If my MPNP application is refused, how do I appeal the decision?
  • I want my mother from the Philippines to come and take care of my children. How do I bring her to Canada?
  • MPNP is no longer accepting applications from Nurses and my sister is a Nurse. How I can I help her come to Manitoba?
  • My son married a woman from Wisconsin and she has children from a previous marriage. Do the children become Permanent Residents too?
  • What are the benefits of becoming a Canadian citizen?
  • If I become a citizen, do I lose my American citizenship?
  • My brother was refused entry to Canada but we don’t know why. How can we find out?
  • How long does it take for a MPNP application?
  • How many people can I support for MPNP applications?
  • My brother wants to come to Canada but he is not sure if he will come to Manitoba. He is interested in Toronto. If I help him with his MPNP application, can he move to Toronto? Can Manitoba come after me?
  • How long does it take to process a Parental Class application?
  • How many times can I extend my visa?
  • And many more!

If you have any of these questions or you have other immigration questions, please come to the next presentation or contact our office. Click here for information on how to schedule an appointment.