CRS Seminar: The Role of Family in Constructions of the ‘Desirable’ Canadian Refugee
With guest speaker:
Megan Gaucher, Assistant Professor, Department of Law and Legal Studies, Carleton University
Despite Canada’s refugee program being an individualized process, the presence or absence of family often plays a role in the assessment of credibility. The Trudeau government’s privileging of Syrian women, children and families in 2015 and the IRB’s focus on conjugal relationships in the assessment of queer asylum seekers speaks to the Canadian state’s continued reliance on constructions of “desirable” and “undesirable” refugees. Moreover, the absence of family acts as an indicator of threat to the state while family members have historically been cast as an unwanted migrant class. Using these two examples, this presentation will examine the role family has played, and continues to play, in constructions of the “desirable” Canadian refugee and how narratives of gender, race, sexual orientation and citizenship shape these constructions.
Megan Gaucher is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Law and Legal Studies at Carleton University. Her interdisciplinary research interests focus on the intersections between citizenship, family, gender, sexuality and race in Canadian immigration and refugee law and policy. She is the author ofA Family Matter: Citizenship, Conjugal Relationships, and Canadian Immigration Policy(UBC Press, 2018). Her current research projects include an analysis of these intersections as they related to Canada’s temporary foreign worker programs, an examination of the Canadian state’s treatment of single male migrants, and an investigation into legislative “crackdowns” on birth tourism.