‘People won’t be able to get protection’: Halifax refugee community impacted by new travel ban
President Donald Trump’s announcement of a new travel ban that bans citizens of eight countries from entering the United States, is a move that’s being felt by refugee support workers in Halifax.
The Halifax Refugee Clinic is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organization that provides ‘legal services as well as settlement services to refugee claimants who can’t afford a private lawyer.’
The clinic says they’ve ‘seen an increase’ in refugees coming to Nova Scotia, out of fear of being discriminated against in the United States.
“It impacts us and our clients because of all of the negative rhetoric and all of this discriminatory language around refugees, around nationals from these countries,” Julie Chamagne said, the Executive Director of the Halifax Refugee Clinic.
“We’ve had a net increase of families and individuals, from the U.S., who are basically fleeing the U.S. Because they don’t consider it safe for their protection and coming to Canada.
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That fear of safety doesn’t come as a surprise to refugee law professor, Constance MacIntosh.
“People are concerned that the travel ban in the States, from the first one and the second one and now the third one, are inflaming a certain amount of racism and anti-Muslim backlash, that make Muslim people in Halifax feel not very safe,” MacIntosh said.
North Korea and Venezuela are two of the eight countries included in the travel band that aren’t predominately Muslim.
“It’s a little bit of window dressing in that the American government has thrown in a few non-Muslim countries but it’s still predominately a Muslim ban. I’m concerned that the White Supremacist activities that we’ve been seeing in Canada, as well as the United States, are going to continue to be validated,” MacIntosh said.
Chamagne feels the travel ban will carry devastating impacts on the people who are seeking refuge persecution.
“People will just not be able to get protection. People who are fleeing the very entities and terrorist groups that this ban seems to be targeting, will not be able to come to countries where they can get protection,” she said.
The new ban goes into effect October 18.
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