Bordering the Pandemic: COVID-19, Immigration, and Emergency

UBC Migration Speakers Series by Asha Kaushal & Bethany Hastie

December 1, 2020

Bordering the Pandemic: COVID-19, Immigration, and Emergency

An online talk by:
Dr. Asha Kaushal
Assistant Professor, UBC Allard School of Law

&
Dr. Bethany Hastie
Assistant Professor, UBC Allard School of Law

with
Devin Eeg
Graduate, UBC Allard School of Law Graduate Program

Tuesday, December 1, 2020
12:30 – 2:00 p.m. (PST)

[ Abstract ]
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of Canada’s international borders. This closure was not absolute; it was marked by several exceptions. Those exceptions were contained in a series of Orders-in-Council (OiCs) which became the Canadian government’s mechanism of choice for governing the border. OiCs are swift, efficient, and flexible legal instruments, which makes them well-suited to a public health emergency. In this talk, we explore the nature, function and impact of regulating Canada’s borders through OiCs. Focusing on both the procedural and substantive dimensions of OiCs, we interrogate their potential political, legal, and social consequences. We draw on the theory of the emergency to unpack and illustrate how this unfolds, and to explain why it creates serious challenges for longer-term immigration regulation. We demonstrate how the use and content of the pandemic OiCs with respect to the border has reignited reliance on status-based distinctions in immigration regulation, and we consider the ways in which this may produce discriminatory effects at and within Canada’s borders.

Please RSVP for this event here

Loin de Bachar, un film de Pascal Sanchez (ONF) 2020 | 73 min

À la Cinémathèque québécoise dès le 25 septembre 2020
17 September, 2020

The Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law invites you to view this excellent documentary entitled “Loin de Bachar” :

Il y a quelques années, les al-Mahamid ont dû fuir la Syrie de Bachar al-Assad pour s’établir à Montréal. À des milliers de kilomètres du conflit, Loin de Bachar trace un portrait tout en nuances de cette famille courageuse, dont le quotidien demeure traversé par une guerre qui ne finit pas.

  • Horaire et billetterie: https://www.cinematheque.qc.ca/fr/programmation/projections/film/loin-de-bachar-nouveaute
  • Le réalisateur, Pascal Sanchez sera présent le vendredi 25, et le dimanche 27 septembre, pour un court échange après les projections

Beyond the 2018 Global Compact for Migration

The Future of International Cooperation on Migration Governance - February 5th, 2020

 

 

The Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law and the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at McGill university Faculty of Law, hosted a panel discussion on the future of the Global Compact for Migration, featuring:

  • His Excellency Ambassador Juan José Gómez Camacho, Ambassador of Mexico to Canada, former Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations between 2016 and 2019 and
  • Hon. Luise Arbour, recently the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The panel discussion was hosted and moderated by:

  • Pr François Crépeau is the Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Lawand the Director of the McGill Center for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. Pr Crépeau was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants from 2011 to 2017.

According to the United Nations, the global number of international migrants reached 272 million in 2019. This figure will increase due to population growth, enhanced connectivity, trade, rising inequality, demographic imbalances and climate change. Migration provides immense opportunity and benefits for home and host communities. At the same time, due to poor regulation and exploitation, migration can also create significant challenges for states and individuals alike. The 2018 Global Compact for Migration is the first-ever United Nations instrument on a common approach to the governance of international migration in all its dimensions. Our distinguished panelists were both instrumental to the crafting and adoption of the Global Compact. Although non-binding, the Compact is grounded in the values of state sovereignty, responsibility sharing, non-discrimination and human rights. It recognizes that a cooperative approach is needed to optimize the overall benefits of migration, while addressing its challenges for individuals and communities in countries of origin, transit and destination.

 

The Economist: European governments in melt-down over an inoffensive migration compact

Symbolism trumps toothlessness
7 December, 2018

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Commentary by Francois Crépeau: “Much ado about nothing, really. Not that the GCM is not worth anything. As a conceptual framework, it provides a useful tool to initiate international cooperation on migration issues and channel it over the coming decades. However, it is not in any way mandatory and therefore does not oblige any State to do anything any time soon. Moreover, the GCM does not deny any sovereign power to exclude dangerous foreigners or control borders appropriately. The GCM is therefore not worth the current European “meltdown”, which is caused by politics, not policy. Once again, nationalist populist politicians will use any kind of fodder to revel in myths, buttress stereotypes and stoke fears, presenting themselves as saviors. Other politicians allow them to do this by not taking a principled stand on mobility and diversity.”

It was like watching paint dry, or other people’s children play baseball. Last month Gert Raudsep, an Estonian actor, spent two hours on prime-time television reading out the text of a un migration agreement. Estonia’s government was tottering over whether to pull out of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, to give it its full name. So Mr Raudsep was invited to present the source of the discord to worried viewers. Thoughts of weary migrants from Africa and Latin America kept him going, he said. “But my eyes got a bit tired.”

Mr Raudsep’s recital made for dull viewing because the compact is a dull document. Its 23 “objectives” are peppered with vague declarations, platitudes and split differences. Partly in the spirit of other global agreements like the Paris climate deal, it encourages states to co-operate on tricky cross-border matters without forcing them to do anything. It urges governments to treat migrants properly, but also to work together on sending them home when necessary. At best it helps build the trust between “sending” and “receiving” countries that is the foundation of any meaningful international migration policy.

None of this has prevented European governments from melting down over it. In the end Estonia resolved its row; it will join more than 180 other countries in Marrakesh on December 10th-11th to adopt the compact. But so far at least ten others, including seven from Europe, have followed the lead of Donald Trump and pulled out of a deal that they helped negotiate. The agreement is agitating parliaments, sparking protests and splintering coalitions; Belgium’s is on the verge of collapse. More withdrawals may follow.

To read the full article, please click here.