Persons In Limbo Cluster

Regarding those who have neither landed nor been deported.

This research cluster will gather data on people left in limbo in Canada who for one reason or another have not be landed but who also, usually for different but related reasons, cannot be “deported”.

The object of the research is to gather data on the numbers of those affected, the various categories in terms of why they have not been landed, the length of time in limbo, the various efforts made by government and non-government sectors to resolve the issue and the shortcomings of such efforts, other alternatives that have been considered but discarded and the reasons for not trying those alternatives. If possible, we will also research the effects on the persons in limbo and their families and the impact on Canadian society. The purpose of the data and analysis is to use it to organize a brainstorming session to explore this dilemma that confronts anyone in touch with the issue. Based on other research, one premise of the research is that government officials are as stumped about how to resolve the problem as advocates on behalf of persons in limbo; the source of the problem is neither racialized targeting nor a non-rational deliberate desire to exclude. The second premise is that persons in limbo for extended periods of time are the domestic analogue to refugees in protracted situations; they suffer enormously and every effort should be made to resolve the problem in an efficacious and judicious way consistent with both the responsibilities of government to its own citizens and respect for the rights and dignity of those caught in such situations.

The cluster will consist of those interested in fostering such research, providing assistance to researchers and those interested in the outcome, including persons in limbo interested in such research. The core of the cluster will consist of the actual research team.

This research project is solution oriented. This research project will not focus only on security cases and will not try to determine whether there was or was not reasonable grounds to believe the individual was a member of an organization that posed a security threat or whether the organization to which an individual allegedly belonged posed a security threat, however valuable such research might be. Nor will we assess what constitutes evidence of risk. The research is not focused on whether or not there has been a miscarriage of justice but on how many and for what reasons people are caught in a state of limbo and what solutions are available to end that state.

The cluster was created following a presentation by the Centre for Refugee Studies panel that itself followed a panel on Refugees in Security Limbo at the annual consultations of the Canadian Council of Refugees in Toronto on 27 November 2008. Some members of the cluster will hold an initial discussion at Starbucks on King St. in the Holiday Inn from 8:00 a.m. to 8:55 a.m. on 28 November 2008.