Torys Lawyers Discuss Children in Immigration Detention Centres with Nexus

May 29, 2017

The International Human Rights Program (IHRP) released report No Life For a Child; A Roadmap to End Immigration Detention of Children and Family Separation in September 2016 which has since brought attention to the effects that being in an immigration detention centre or having a parent in an immigration detention centre can have upon children. Torys lawyers, partner Sheila Block and associate Aria Laskin, weigh in on the complications that families within the immigration detention system face while discussing the future of the detention system as a whole with Nexus.

Aria Laskin worked pro bono on a case for a mother and her infant son who was born while in custody. Laskin spoke of the everyday life of the child, saying, “the little boy had never seen a dog. He’d never really played on grass. He hadn’t had the opportunity to be socialized with other children his own age. When he came back inside he would be patted down and searched. They would search inside of his diaper. And for him that was a totally routine thing.

Expert litigator Sheila Block commented on the complications of cases such as this where the child of an immigrant is born within a Canadian detention centre, making the child a Canadian citizen. Below is an excerpt of the article.

"The catch-22 for most of these parents is that a Canadian child is there allegedly voluntarily,” added Sheila Block, a partner at Torys who spearheaded the firm’s pro bono work on immigration detention cases and advocated for the IHRP report recommendations with policymakers in Ottawa. “If you don’t have someone close to you on the outside who can take your child, you may hand them over to government agencies. But it’s very natural that people want to keep their children with them."

To read the full article, click here.

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