Immigration Detentions watchdog concerned about possible strong-arming of Jamaican government

Toronto, August 30, 2016 — The End Immigration Detention Network is raising concerns about the suspicious and sudden promise of travel documents in the midst of Mr Alvin Brown’s fight to be released from detention being heard by the Ontario Superior Court this week. Mr Brown has been under a removal order since 2005, and has been imprisoned since September 2011. Canada has not been able to secure travel documents from Jamaica to date. Today, as Mr Brown for the first time is finally getting his day in a court where litigation may result in his release and reparations, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) has produced an email from the Jamaican consulate promising issuing of travel documents.

“Why did it take 11 years for CBSA to get the promise of a travel document, and how did it suddenly happen in the midst of litigation? The public should be gravely concerned about the possibility of CBSA strong arming foreign governments to subvert the establishing of precedent and good case law. One may think this was coincidence had the exact same thing not happened in our previous Habeas attempt in the case of Michael Mvogo and Glory Anawa. In any case, we need the Federal government to step in, rein in CBSA, place a 90 day limit on detentions, end maximum security imprisonment, and overhaul the judicial review process as initial steps to ending immigration detention.” said Syed Hussan of the End Immigration Detention Network.

Mr Brown’s case is only possible because the Ontario Court of Appeals asserted jurisdiction in a previous immigration detainee group Habeas Corpus case in 2015. The two lead claimants in that case where Mr Michael Mvogo and Ms Glory Anawa. Before Mr Mvogo and Ms Anawa could have their hearing on facts – which is what Mr Brown is engaged in this week – both of them were deported. A third claimant, Ms Amina Chowdhury was offered a settlement by CBSA and so no case law was created. Mr Mvogo at that point had been in detention for nearly 10 years, and Ms Anawa for almost four years and travel documents, previously unavailable, were suspiciously produced in the midst of litigation in 2015 too.

Jamaica relies heavily on Canadian aid. The Canadian Special Operations Regiment is currently based in Jamaica. Over 8,000 Jamaican farm workers came to Canada in 2016 under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program. Jamaican Minister of Labour and Social Security Shahine Robinson was visiting Canada just earlier this month. All of this, in addition to the suspicious timing of Mr. Brown’s travel documents, leads to serious concerns of CBSA engaging in strong-arming the Jamaican Government.



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