CSPI Workshop - Refugee Policies and Discourses: Canada, the US and Australia Compared
By Yasmeen Abu Laban, University of Alberta
This talk addresses the question of whether policy (and policy-makers) contribute to the humanization or dehumanization of refugees by assessing policy developments and discourses between 2015-2020 in Canada,the United States and Australia. Findings suggest here has been a trend towards dehumanization--seen in criminalizing and punishing refugees and asylum seekers through policies relating to preventing entry, as well as supporting detention and deportation. Nonetheless, elected officials have a strong role to play in countering dehumanizing portrayals of refugees. The distinct role Justin Trudeau has played in humanizing refugees, both in Canada as well as in relation to the international community, is highlighted as providing an alternative discourse, albeit one that is not free of contradictions.