National Security and Canadian immigration: Deconstructing the discourse of trade-offs.

This essay offers an analysis of national security provisions in immigration law before and after 9/11 as well as the “smart border” initiative. Post 9/11 developments do not represent a sea change in immigration or border policies, but merely the latest chapter in a fitful history of grand gestures of humanitarianism, political expedience and racist exclusion (Dauvergne 2003, 743; Richmond 2001; Simmons 1998). While the “big idea” of policy convergence with the United States has not been embraced by the Canadian government, a series of coercive, incremental measures has led to a serious erosion of human rights for non-citizens. I conclude by underscoring the principle that the rights of immigrants and refugees need not be a trade-off in efforts to promote security for all – citizens and non-citizens alike.

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