Clarke Law In the News: CBC Article

CBC has been following the tragic case of the two men from Ghana who crossed the border into Manitoba in the freezing cold and walked for hours and hours. They are in hospital under the care of the doctors in Winnipeg; unfortunately, the damage to fingers and toes is serious and they will (or have already) face amputation. Refugees crossing into Canada is too common and it is very dangerous. It is important to remember, however, that the people who risk the bitter cold know that the violence from their home country is worse.

CBC contacted Clarke Law for an expert opinion on Canadian immigration law. Here is an excerpt from the article:

Why are people sneaking across the Canada-U.S. border to seek refugee status?

The Canada and the United States have a security deal called the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement.


It says refugee claimants have to apply for refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, with some exceptions, including things like public interest and family.

Crossing the Border Into Canada


“A lot of people who would get refugee status in Canada that can’t get it in the U.S.,” said Labman.


Alastair Clarke, a Canadian immigration lawyer who has been in the field for more than a decade, said people avoid border crosses because “they’re worried that they’re going to be turned away.”

“When somebody is coming to Canada without any status and they go to a border, they have very limited rights. It’s unfortunately all too common that people are turned away at the border for bad reasons,” he added.


Clarke said immigration officers in Winnipeg, for example, may be more sympathetic than officers at the border. Also, they can get support from the community within Winnipeg.  Clarke said officers in the city of Winnipeg, for example, are more likely to allow an asylum seeker to make a refugee claim than officers at the border.

Clarke said the people crossing are vulnerable, in desperate circumstances and are trying to get to Canada however they can.


“When we get to the tribunal, and we talk about their case and we try to make a determination whether they fall into one of the categories of a refugee, how they came to Canada is relevant, but it’s not the main focus of the hearing,” said Clarke. “We’re more interested in whether or not their life is at risk, whether or not they may be subject to torture and whether or not they fall within one of the definitions.”

For the full article, published by CBC News, click here.

Refugees Crossing Into Canada

Everyday we get clients who come to our office and tell their tremendous, heart-breaking stories. Before they reach our door, they have already endured extreme hardship and an extensive journey. It is important to remember that the refugees crossing into Canada are fleeing a situation – for myriad reasons – that leads them to believe they have no choice. They give up everything in their home countries to make the long journey to Canada in the hope of a better life.