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Locked up without charges. Yes, it happens in Canada.

Ebrahim Toure, at the time Canada's longest serving immigration detainee, is photographed in a video feed from The Central East Correctional Centre in Lindsay, Ontario, during a break in his monthly immigration review hearing at the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada facility in Rexdale, June 15, 2017. (Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

There are people in Canada, right now, in maximum-security prisons who have not been convicted of a crime. Many of them have never even been charged with one. They’re being “detained” by the Canadian Border Services Agency, and it’s the CBSA that decides where they go once the board rules they need to be held until their next hearing, or deportation. Some of them go to immigration detention centres. The rest of ’em go to jail, where they’re treated like any other inmate.

That can be dehumanizing, dangerous and even deadly, so why does it happen to people who aren’t criminals? Who’s watching over the CBSA as it makes this decision? Why has it taken so long for this practice to be noticed, and even longer for real action to happen? Welcome to the cracks in Canada’s immigration system. You’re about to meet the people who fall through them.

GUEST: Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star

 

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