UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation of the current British Columbian eductional policy regarding single male Central… Campbell, Morgan Brand 1991

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A N I N V E S T I G A T I O N O F T H E C U R R E N T B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A N E D U C T I O N A L P O L I C Y , R E G A R D I N G S I N G L E M A L E C E N T R A L A M E R I C A N R E F U G E E C L A I M A N T S , A N D T H E E F F E C T , I F A N Y , O N T H E I R S O C I A L A N D E C O N O M I C W E L L B E I N G . b y M o r g a n B r a n d C a m p b e l l B . E d ( s e c ) . , U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , 1 9 7 5 A T H E S I S S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E O F M A S T E R O F A R T S i n T H E F A C U L T Y O F G R A D U A T E S T U D I E S S o c i a l a n d E d u c a t i o n a l S t u d i e s W e a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s a s c o n f o r m i n g t o t h e r e q u i r e d s t a n d a r d T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A J u n e 1 9 9 1 © M o r g a n B r a n d C a m p b e l l ; In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of "HPlxdiA^-i o VJ> The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT Refugees are on welfare and get into d i f f i c u l t y because the Federal Immigration p o l i c y does not give them work permits and P o v i n c i a l Education p o l i c y does not provide English as a second language. i i TABLE OF CONTENTS ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ij-V^ ABSTRACT i i CHAPTER 1. Introduction 1 I d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the problem 3 CHAPTER 2. Review of the l i t e r a t u r e 8 CHAPTER 3. A p r o f i l e of Central America 2 0 CHAPTER 4. Canada's Immigration p o l i c y and i t ' s e f f e c t s on Central American refugee claimants 33 CHAPTER 5. The problems of Central American male refugees 51 CHAPTER 6. Research Methodology 63 CHAPTER 7. Analysis of Data Section 1. Background 76 Section 2. A r r i v a l and Early Years . . . 80 Section 3. Education and related areas . 82 Section 4. Occupation and employment . . 85 Section 5. Economic data 88 Section 6. Orientation and b e l i e f s . . . 90 A comparison study 95 CHAPTER 8. Review of services and agencies . . . . 107 Educational opportunities 113 CHAPTER 9. Conclusion 118 Recomendations 122 BIBLIOGRAPHY 12 5 APPENDIX I 130 Aknowledqements The following i s a l i s t of people and organizations that assisted me i n my reseach. Many of these people gave up valuable time to be interviewed e i t h e r i n person or on the phone. My thanks to each and every one of you. Roger Barany - Case worker fo r MOSAIC Pablo Bazeque - Street worker for DEYAS Nora P a t r i c h - A r t i s t Gina Sara - Immigration O f f i c e r , Employment & Immigration, Canada Al i s o n Sawyer - Lawyer fo r Burnaby Legal Services (Refugees) George Va r n e i i - S p e c i a l i s t i n Refugee Claimants with Employment & Immigration, Canada Fereal McCann - O f f i c e of the Sectetary of State P h i l l i p Jung - Canadian Council f o r Refugees (Vancouver) Dr. Gustov Lopez - President for the Commision of Human Rights i n Central America Carlos Moreila - Guatemalan Human Rights Commision Danny Chavarria - Refugee from Nicaragua John Foster - Oxfam Margaret Morgan - Amnesty International Stewart Istvanfy - Lawyer, Human Rights A c t i v i s t (Montreal) Dan Livermore - Lawyer, Director of Human Rights and Soc i a l A f f a i r s , Department of External A f f a i r s , Ottawa Hon. Lloyd Axworthy P.C.,M.P. - Chairman of the s p e c i a l Committee on the peace process i n Central America R.V. Gorham - Canada's roving Ambassador fo r Central America & s p e c i a l advisor to the Secretary of State for External A f f a i r s William Smiley - s o c i a l worker Judith Roth - Program Coordinator f o r Vancouver School Board (Adult) Lesley Thompson - ESL Instructor at KEC & VCC Ester S i l v a and Frank Frigon - Vancouver School Board, ESL teachers, Spanish speakers Nona Thompson - Teacher at Step Up, VSB Chapter One  Introduct ion My i n t e r e s t i n refugee claimants began i n the winter of 1987 when my spouse and I volunteered to teach, an ESL c l a s s , to Central American refugee claimants at the Carnegie Centre i n downtown Vancouver. That winter was an eye opener as we got to know more and more about the claimants and learnt about t h e i r aspirations and problems. We had recently returned from two years c r u i s i n g our own sailboat i n Mexico and had developed a great l i k i n g and a f f i n i t y with i t s people and culture. Our experiences i n Mexico and here i n Vancouver led me to explore the reasons for the s i t u a t i o n i n which the claimants had been placed. The purpose that underlies t h i s study i s to discover why Central American refugee claimants are not receiving the help, i n terms of education, that they need. In order to do t h i s i t i s necessary to examine i n d e t a i l the formation of the p o l i c i e s and circumstances that have shaped the present day s i t u a t i o n . Three major areas of study that a r i s e from the i n i t i a l question are as follows: What creates Central American refugees; What p o l i c i e s are i n place that e f f e c t them d i r e c t l y and how were they formulated; and what are the r e s u l t s of these p o l i c i e s on the refugees now that they are i n Canada? Page - 1 To address these three issues I f e l t i t was necessary to explore each of these areas. By approaching the study i n t h i s way I hope to be able to suggest ways i n which the present p o l i c i e s can be amended to more r e a l i s t i c a l l y deal with the emerging c r i s i s that i s occurring among our refugee population. I t i s also hoped that t h i s study w i l l point the way f o r further study of t h i s complex i n t e r c u l t u r a l , yet global problem. While working as a volunteer i n Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, teaching English as a Second Language f o r the Downtown Eastside Youth A c t i v i t i e s Society (DEYAS), I got to know about 30 Central American refugee claimants who were l i v i n g i n the downtown east side of Vancouver. The greatest number of these were p o l i t i c a l refugees from E l Salvador. These men d i d not a l l come from the same s o c i a l class or occupational category, but were spread across the spectrum from n e a r - i l l i t e r a t e to college graduate, with a corresponding range of previous occupations. A l l were determined to succeed i n Canada and attended the winter drop-in classes on a regular basis. This was the only ESL t r a i n i n g that they had access to at that time (see update). Because I was able to observe t h e i r problems firsthand, I began to develop an understanding of how they viewed t h e i r s i t u a t i o n s , and the forces that regulated t h e i r l i v e s . I came to appreciate how few s o c i a l services were avail a b l e to them, and t h e i r need, Page - 2 both f o r recognition of t h e i r existence and f o r help i n integration into the Canadian society to which they had f l e d . I d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the problem During the l a s t f i v e years, increasing numbers of single, male, Central American refugees have arri v e d i n Canada and sought p o l i t i c a l asylum as "convention refugees". These young men have gravitated to the larger metropolitan areas, s p e c i f i c a l l y Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver (source Pablo Bazerque, Spanish speaking streetworker f o r DEYAS). In Vancouver, they have formed a unique sub culture. According to Pablo Bazerque, who comes i n contact with them, there are approximately 300 young, si n g l e male refugee claimants i n Vancouver (as of May 1989) . Bazerque claims that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to give an accurate figure, as the subjects are constantly moving, not only between d i s t r i c t s of the c i t y (discussed below), but also to other metropolitan areas across Canada. This movement i s hard to trace or document, but i n Bazerque's experience i s a major problem i n attempting to help them e s t a b l i s h bases from which to access the Canadian Immigration and Employment determination process. This process w i l l determine whether they w i l l be accepted as immigrants or whether they w i l l be returned to t h e i r country of o r i g i n . Page - 3 Within Vancouver, the subjects have grouped themselves i n three locations, the Main and Hastings area, the Main and Broadway area and the Broadway and Commercial area. These areas have been selected because of t h e i r low rents and active street l i f e . This active s t r e e t l i f e i s reminiscent of that i n Central America. The subjects are, i n the main, under- or unemployed, not fluent i n English and unsupported by eit h e r the l o c a l Latin community or the community-at-large. Most are on welfare and subsist from month to month. Many have been i n c o n f l i c t with the law and most, i f not a l l , are 'at r i s k ' i n being exposed to contact with persons engaged i n criminal a c t i v i t i e s . The temptation to engage i n i l l e g a l acts i s ever present. In a report summary, prepared by William Smiley f o r the conference on L a t i n Youth, held at Britannia School i n A p r i l 1989, he states: The refugee claimants, usually sing l e young men, have the hardest time adopting ( s i c ) . Their uncertain status and lack of services makes i t very d i f f i c u l t for them. Immigration p o l i c y t r e a t s these people as 'gate crashers' and gives them a double message - 'you can come i n but you are not welcome'. I f they are accepted as immigrants they do not even get the same material support and language t r a i n i n g that government chosen refugees receive. They are treated as 'regular' Canadians and b a s i c a l l y l e f t to fend for themselves. They are often alone, have l i t t l e or no English, are unemployed, and have had traumatic premigration experiences. This sub-population seems to be most 'at r i s k ' and has the l e a s t resources and services av a i l a b l e to them....The highest r i s k population seemed to be single young men who have come to Canada as refugee claimants. They do not even have the support of family and Page - 4 f r i e n d s . These young men face the added stress of waiting to see i f they w i l l be deported or allowed to stay i n Canada. (William Smiley, 1989) D i f f i c u l t i e s with language and acculturation have further i s o l a t e d them from others i n the neighbourhood. Their treatment at the hands of Employment and Immigration Canada, has increased t h e i r anxiety and f r u s t r a t i o n , due to the time taken to determine t h e i r l e g a l status. This paper w i l l deal with the problems of s u r v i v a l faced by those single, male refugee claimants who arri v e d p r i o r to January 1989 from Central America. Central America f o r the purpose of t h i s paper w i l l be those countries that l i e between the United States and Panama. Mexico i s not normally included i n Central America but does produce "refugees" and these are considered part of the Latin refugee group currently awaiting processing i n Vancouver. In January 1989, the Canadian immigration regulations changed with respect to the determination process. This aspect w i l l be dealt with i n Chapter 3. These men range i n age from under 20 to over 40. In many cases they come from countries i n which there has been or s t i l l i s c i v i l and/or m i l i t a r y unrest. Some are married and have l e f t f a m i l i e s behind while most are si n g l e but have parents and other r e l a t i v e s i n t h e i r home country. Many send money back home to support those l e f t behind. Page - 5 Because of the backlog i n the processing of refugee claimants, (Employment and Immigration Canada estimates 80,000 as of January 1989) i t takes many months f o r these young men to obtain work permits. S o c i a l assistance should be avail a b l e within the f i r s t month a f t e r a r r i v a l , but many have reported d i f f i c u l t y i n obtaining t h i s money. The perception of many Canadians i s that these young men are members of "Latino gangs" who prey on women and are involved i n drug t r a f f i c k i n g . (Vancouver Sun, 1989) While i t i s true that these gangs e x i s t and are, or have been, i d e n t i f i e d with drug t r a f f i c k i n g and p r o s t i t u t i o n , t h e i r membership r a r e l y includes men from the group under review. (The gang most commonly c i t e d i n Vancouver, Los Diablos, i s mainly composed of youths from the L a t i n American community who came to Canada as adolescents with t h e i r f a m i l i e s , attended high school and are now unemployed.) The sing l e males have, however, formed a loose association c a l l e d Los Marianas. This group has been formed as a support system and as a means of es t a b l i s h i n g an i d e n t i t y f o r these young men. The only time they are seen as a group i s at soccer matches and other sporting events within the La t i n community. The problems faced by the group under discussion involve the d i f f i c u l t i e s of day to day l i v i n g i n a foreign country and the f r u s t r a t i o n of planning f o r a Page - 6 s a t i s f a c t o r y l i f e i n a c l i m a t e o f u n c e r t a i n t y . H o u s i n g , j o b s , l a n g u a g e , a c c u l t u r a t i o n , e d u c a t i o n a n d s t a t u s a r e t h e m a j o r a r e a s t h a t w i l l be e x p l o r e d . The p r o b l e m s o f t h e g r o u p u n d e r d i s c u s s i o n s t e m f r o m many s o u r c e s . I t i s t h e p u r p o s e o f t h i s r e s e a r c h t o ex a m i n e t h e s o u r c e s o f t h e p r o b l e m i n o r d e r t h a t a c l e a r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e n a t u r e o f t h e p r o b l e m s c a n be o b t a i n e d and a n a l y s e d . T h i s p a p e r w i l l b r i e f l y e x amine t h e e c o n o m i c , s o c i a l a n d p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n s i n L a t i n A m e r i c a t h a t h a v e c r e a t e d r e f u g e e s . N e x t , i t w i l l e x a m i n e how o u r c u r r e n t i m m i g r a t i o n p o l i c y e v o l v e d a n d t h e r e p e r c u s s i o n s o f t h i s p o l i c y on t h e r e f u g e e c l a i m a n t s . Once t h i s b a c k g r o u n d h a s b e e n e s t a b l i s h e d , t h e r e m a i n d e r o f t h e s t u d y w i l l d e a l w i t h how t h e s e y o u n g men c o p e w i t h t h e i r s i t u a t i o n . E c o n o m i c s u c c e s s i n a new c o u n t r y r e q u i r e s s k i l l s i n t h e l a n g u a g e o f t h e new c o u n t r y . T h i s means t h a t E S L t r a i n i n g i s e s s e n t i a l t o e n s u r e t h a t t h e s e r e f u g e e c l a i m a n t s s u c c e e d . The q u e s t i o n t o be a s k e d i s : Does t h e c u r r e n t F e d e r a l I m m i g r a t i o n p o l i c y and t h e P r o v i n c i a l E d u c a t i o n p o l i c y a s s i s t s i n g l e m a l e C e n t r a l A m e r i c a n r e f u g e e c l a i m a n t s ? Page - 7 Chapter Two Review of the Li t e r a t u r e While much material i s avail a b l e on immigration and sponsored refugees, l i t t l e has been written about refugee claimants. Within the academic world there are only a handful of writers on Canadian immigration and immigrants. Most notable among these are Freda Hawkins and Gerald Dirks. Two j o u r n a l i s t s , V i c t o r Malarek and Reg Whitaker, have sp e c i a l i z e d i n the f i e l d and have both written books and a r t i c l e s on the subject. Freda Hawkins, i n her 1988 book, Canada and  Immigration: Public p o l i c y and public concerns, mentions L a t i n American refugees, i n passing, as being part of the group of refugees who make up 26.7% of refugees accepted by Quebec. This group includes large numbers of Haitians who speak French and are sought by t h i s province - a l l of these are sponsored refugees. Her only comment on i l l e g a l migrants has to do with the backlog clearance program and t h i s includes a l l i l l e g a l migrants currently seeking status, not ju s t L a t i n Americans. V i c t o r Malarek, i n h i s 1987 book, Haven Gate. has the following to say about refugee claimants from E l Salvador and Guatemala: On February 20, 1987, Mr Bouchard.... announced a seri e s of "administrative measures" to increase Canada's " a b i l i t y to help genuine refugees who need our protection by deterring abuse of the refugee determination system." The most d r a s t i c move was an attempt to shut Page - 8 down the overland route through the United States used by refugee claimants from E l Salvador and Guatemala, two refugee-producing countries that the Canadian government had acknowledged to be r i f e with human r i g h t s v i o l a t i o n s . (Malarek, 1987, p.117) Mr. Malarek i s a writer for the Toronto Globe and Mail and has been i t s immigration expert since 1974. His s t y l e , while somewhat sensational, i s backed up by s o l i d research. Another author i n the same vein i s Reg Whitaker, whose book Double Standard was published i n 1987. Mr Whitaker researched and wrote h i s book while on a fellowship at York University. His book i s well researched, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n h i s use of the Freedom of Information Act and i t s revelations regarding the formulation and implementation of the various immigration acts. Mr Whitaker spends a great deal of the book looking f o r motives and conspiracies, e s p e c i a l l y regarding covert a c t i v i t i e s involving the United States' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). He does, however, include a small section on Central American refugee claimants. His views can be discerned from the following quote from h i s book: In the 1980's the main area of the world producing so-called "left-wing" refugees i s Central America. The United States, backing right-wing dictatorships and opposing both left-wing g u e r r i l l a movements and the l e f t -wing governments of Cuba and Nicaragua,is v i r t u a l l y closed to the people displaced by war and by counter-insurgency drives under American tutelage....A number of them have begun to show up as refugee claimants at the Canadian border. Their f l i g h t to Canada i s i n every sense a genuine refugee movement, since the U.S. government w i l l deport them to t h e i r country of o r i g i n i f they are apprehended—and Page - 9 i n many cases that means c e r t a i n death. (Whitaker, 1987, p.295) Gerald Dirks, a recognized authority i n academic c i r c l e s regarding migrants, supports Mr. Whitakers views regarding the Canadian governments i n a b i l i t y to handle refugee claimants from Central America i n an honourable way. In an a r t i c l e i n the Canadian Journal of P o l i c a l Science, of June 1984, he states: Regardless of the p r e v a i l i n g Immigration Act, refugees from L a t i n America have never been the r e c i p i e n t s of as prompt or as l i b e r a l treatment as indivi d u a l s from such regions as Eastern Europe. This state of a f f a i r s has been, and continues to be, a t t r i b u t a b l e to, p o l i t i c a l , administrative and i d e o l o g i c a l considerations on the part of various Canadian governments rather than to any discriminatory features of immigration l e g i s l a t i o n . (Dirks, 1984, p.297) Gerald Dirks' c l a s s i c , Canada's Refugee Poli c y : Indifference  or opportunism. written i n 1977, only very b r i e f l y mentions i l l e g a l migrants and these are mainly Portuguese and East Indians. The recent exodus from Central America had not got under way i n 1977. Subsequently, i n various a r t i c l e s i n journals, he has acknowledge t h i s exodus but has contributed l i t t l e to the general store of knowledge. In 1988 he addressed the Refugee Determination Process i n h i s a r t i c l e , of the same name, i n the Canadian Journal of P o l i t i c a l Science. This a r t i c l e deals more with the mechanism of the process rather than i t s impact on those within the system. A 1987 book, edited by John R. Roggee f o r the University of Manitoba, e n t i t l e d Refugees: "A t h i r d world Page - 10 dilemma, contains a number of essays on refugees from Central America. The main thrust of these essays i s the impact that refugees from Guatemala, Nicaragua and E l Salvador have on neighbouring countries rather than on that of those refugees who attempt the arduous trek to Canada. Mr. Roggee introduces the section (section three) on Central America by saying: Of a l l the world's refugee-generating areas, L a t i n America has probably received the l e a s t attention from either the media or the academic community. Yet South and Central America,as well as the Caribbean states, have been adding to the world refugee numbers fo r much of the post war era.... Although UNHCR (United Nations High Commission on Refugees) acknowledges that upward of 1 m i l l i o n people have been displaced during the past decade i n Central America, only around 120,000 had benefitted d i r e c t l y from the protection and assistance of the agency by mid-1986 (Barton 1986). Nowhere else around the world does such a wide discrepancy exist.(Rogge (Ed.), 1987, p.159) Rogge goes on to say that the major refugee-producing countries are Guatemala, Nicaragua and E l Salvador and the majority of these countries' refugees seek refuge i n neighbouring countries, e s p e c i a l l y Mexico and Honduras. He does acknowledge that a small percentage seek resettlement i n the United States and Canada. He never-the-less maintains that "the majority of refugees are being maintained i n numerous refugee holding camps or have spontaniously integrated among urban and r u r a l communities." (Rogge, 1987, p.159) Page - 11 Another c o l l e c t i o n of essays, edited by G i l Loescher and L a i l a Monahan, e n t i t t l e d Refugees and International  Relations has a few references to refugees from Central America. One of the essays, by Elizabeth F e r r i s , deals with the "Sanctuary Movement" and i t s growth and involvement with Central American refugees, p a r t i c u l a r l y those from E l Salvador. Ronny Golder and Michael McConnell's book, Sanctuary; the new underground r a i l r o a d covers t h i s area extensively, but i t i s F e r r i s ' essay that gives the movement legitimacy by showing that i t i s one of many such movements i n i t i a t e d by the world's churches i n t e r n a t i o n a l l y . Escape from Violence: C o n f l i c t and the refugee c r i s i s  i n the developing world by A r i s t i d e Zolberg, A s t r i Suhrke and Sergio Aguayo, published i n 1989, contains the following quote i n the preface: Widely perceived as an unprecedented c r i s i s , the number of refugees o r i g i n a t i n g i n the developing world since the 1970s has generated urgent concern throughout the West. Such concern i s an ambiguous mixture of compassion f o r the p l i g h t of the unfortunate who have been cast a d r i f t and of fear that they w i l l come pouring i n . But not only does that fear constantly threaten to undermine the exercise of compassion, i t also shows that the a f f l u e n t countries of the West w i l l neither admit a l l who seek entry nor give s u f f i c i e n t r e l i e f to those who f i n d havens i n the developing world i t s e l f . This i s equally true of neighbouring countries i n Asia, A f r i c a and L a t i n America, which bear the brunt of the c r i s i s . (Zolberg, Suhrke & Aguayo, 1989, p.i) This book includes two chapters on Central America. The f i r s t chapter (chapter 7) deals with the general s i t u a t i o n Page - 12 and goes on to discuss the s i t u a t i o n i n Cuba and H a i t i . The second of these chapters (chapter 8) deals e x c l u s i v e l y with Guatemala, E l Salvador and Nicaragua. The w r i t i n g i s well researched and t r i e s to step c a r e f u l l y through the minefield of both p o l i t i c a l and economic r e a l i t i e s . In one decade, s o c i a l c o n f l i c t i n Nicaragua, E l Salvador, and Guatemala has displaced between two and three m i l l i o n people, almost e n t i r e l y from the poorest sectors of the population....(as in) previous cases. We must take into consideration conditions i n the countries of o r i g i n and reception; there i s a c l e a r involvement of s o c i e t i e s and i n t e r n a t i o n a l organizations i n debate about the displaced; and there i s a tendency to use the displaced as pawns i n the conflict....These variables are p a r t i c u l a r l y c l e a r i n Central America because the displaced come from two countries ruled by r i g h t i s t forces (El Salvador and Guatemala) and one by a l e f t i s t c o a l i t i o n (Nicaragua). (Zolberg, Suhrke & Aguayo, 1989, p.211) Zolberg et a l include an i n t e r e s t i n g table i n t h e i r book that shows where the displaced from Central America move to. This table shows that the vast majority of Central American refugees seek asylum i n neighbouring countries. Of the one and a h a l f m i l l i o n refugees from E l Salvador only one t h i r d have sought refuge i n countries outside of the region and of these the majority (95%) have sought out the United States. Only 5,317 have migrated to Canada. These figures are f o r 1987. (Zolberg, Suhrke & Aguayo, 1989, p.212) To i l l u s t r a t e the change that has occurred i n the movement of peoples within the l a s t decade i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g Page - 13 to compare the following quote from The Organization of American States (OAS) with the findings of Zolberg et a l . Throughout the hi s t o r y of La t i n America there has....been a s i g n i f i c a n t , i f not large, number of L a t i n American nationals who have temporarily moved into e x i l e for p o l i t i c a l reasons....The p o l i t i c a l e x i l e s of years past flowed rather e a s i l y into the neighbouring L a t i n countries where culture, t r a d i t i o n and language posed few b a r r i e r s : futhermore, p o l i t c a l e x i l e s have frequently been the wealthier elements, and have not become burdens on the economy of the absorbing state. (Organization of American States, 1965, p.l) Since the 1970s, there has been a d r a s t i c change with the appearance of large international population movements who claim refugee status and whose s o c i a l composition d i f f e r s markedly from that found by the Organization of American States (OAS). The massive outflow from Cuba and l a t e r , Chile, Nicaragua, E l Salvador, and Guatemala severly strained e x i s t i n g l e g a l codes and prompted a c a l l by the Organization of American States (OAS) f o r more members to accept the somewhat broader obligations of the U.N. convention and to adopt i t s language i n national l e g i s l a t i o n . (Zolberg, Suhrke & Aguayo, 1989, p.28) This s h i f t i n the type of refugee claimant from Central America has created i n the receiving countries a d r a s t i c rethinking about refugees and t h e i r acceptance. The above publications have generally dealt with the causes f o r involuntary movements of people. The next area that i s of relevance to t h i s study i s the area of reception and acculturation i n Canada. Page - 14 In the area of reception, the most author i t ive works are government publications; such as the various Royal Commission Reports, Employment and Immigration Canada reports, and S t a t i s t i c s Canada reports. These give the facts and figures about the people involved, but add l i t t l e to an understanding of the r e a l i t y that these people face i n t h e i r new r o l e . Examples of t h i s type of p u b l i c a t i o n are the Annual Reports to Parliament on Future Immigration Levels. These reports are issued each year and state the number of refugees that Canada w i l l accept i n a given year from each refugee-producing area. They do not, r e f e r to or include the number of refugee claimants who w i l l turn up on Canada's doorstep. For instance, i n 1986, the number of allowable/estimated refugees from L a t i n America f o r the following year was set to be 3,200 out of a t o t a l of 12,000 world-wide refugees that would be accepted by Canada. (Employment & Immigration Canada, 1986, p.13). In the 1987 report, the figure for Central America was set at 3,400 for 1988, at the same time, s e t t i n g a figure of 2,000 fo r landings (application at the border or within Canada). (These persons were to be determined by the Refugee Status Advisary Board (RSAC), since known as the Immigration Determination Board (IDB). "This figure i s not a target, quota or c e i l i n g , but an estimate based on current trends" (Employment & Immigration Canada, 1987, p.11). Another government sponsored report of some si g n i f i c a n c e i s the Perspectives on Immigration i n Canada. Page - 15 F i n a l Report, prepared by the Canadian Employment and Immigration Advisory Council i n August 1988. This p u b l i c a t i o n looked at how we, as Canadians, viewed immigrants and refugees. Its findings are somewhat confusing but give the general impression that, while Canadians see the benefits of new immigrants, they would rather they d i d not s e t t l e i n t h e i r communities and take t h e i r jobs. At the same time, c i t i z e n s f e l t that Canada should take more refugees, but only from s p e c i f i c countries (Eastern and Southern Europe). The perceptions of the media (explored i n t h i s publication) were also mixed, f o r while expressing sympathy f o r refugees from Central America i n p o l i t i c a l terms, the media preferred that they stayed i n the United States or Mexico. The report included a number of recomendations. I f Canada was to accept refugees, we must be prepared to give them adequate language t r a i n i n g and enough s k i l l s to be s e l f - s u f f i c i e n t . Other recomendations of note read as follows: That the government take the following measures with regard to the l e g i s l a t i o n on refugees recently passed by parliament: a) E s t a b l i s h a comprehensive settlement f o r a l l current refugee claimants to ensure harmonious implementation of a l l provisions contained i n the new l e g i s l a t i o n . b) Ensure that the appeal system....respect the s p i r i t and the l e t t e r of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. (Canadian Employment and Immigration Advisory Council, 1988, p.12) Page - 16 An i n t e r e s t i n g , but now outdated, government pub l i c a t i o n i s the Aspects of absorption and adaption of  immigrants written by Antony H. Holland f o r the Department of Manpower and Immigration i n 1974. In i t s conclusion i t made the following statement: Many immigrants experience some decline i n the occupational status of t h e i r f i r s t job i n Canada compared with that i n the former country. Some eventually recover or improve upon t h e i r former p o s i t i o n although not necessarily i n the type of employment that they had intended to pursue i n Canada. Acculturation, as measured by use of an o f f i c i a l language and knowledge of Canadian symbols, i n s t i t u t i o n s and p e r s o n a l i t i e s , was governed by education and length of residence. Less well educated immigrants r e l i e d more heavily on a va r i e t y of l o c a l s o c i a l and commercial f a c i l i t i e s i n t h e i r own language and were more dependent on ethnic press and radio. F i n a l l y , there i s a minority of alienated immigrants whose f a i l u r e to obtain steady employment at a l e v e l commensurate with t h e i r q u a l i f i c a t i o n s combined with s o c i a l i s o l a t i o n and lack of acculturation generate deep seated d i s a t i s f a c t i o n and stress. (Richmond, 1974, p.47) By 1984, Mr Richmond, who continued to study i n t h i s area, had published an a r t i c l e i n the International Migration Today journal e n t i t l e d "Socio-cultural adaptions and c o n f l i c t s i n immigrant-receiving countries" i n which he stated: The immigrant adaption process i s influenced by pre-migration conditions, the t r a n s i t i o n a l experience i n moving from one country to another, the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the migrants themselves and conditions i n the r e c e i v i n g country, including government p o l i c i e s and economic factors. Other important determinants Page - 17 include age of a r r i v a l i n new country, the education and q u a l i f i c a t i o n s of the immigrants concerned, t h e i r degree of exposure to the mass media, including ethnic newspapers, radio and t e l e v i s i o n , and the types of s o c i a l network entered into i n the receiving country. The process of adaption i s multidimensional i n which acculturation interacts with economic adaption, s o c i a l integration, s a t i s f a c t i o n and degree of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the new country. (Richmond, 1984, p.110) These l a t e r statements are a f a r cry from the e a r l i e r assumptions put f o r t h i n the 1974 government publ i c a t i o n where acculturation was measured by a person's knowledge of Canada and i t s i n s t i t u t i o n s , rather than by how well the person coped within the receiving country. On education and work opportunities, Mr Richmond, i n h i s 1984 a r t i c l e , had the following comments: For older immigrants learning a new language and other aspects of acculturation may present more formidable obsticles....Sometimes.... cl a s s are open only to government-sponsored migrants. Probably, education, more then (sic) any other singl e factor, explains the degree and extent of subsequent s o c i o - c u l t u r a l adaption, and the precise form that the adaption takes. Ease of access to educational opportunities i n the receiving country has an important influence on the s o c i o - c u l t u r a l adaption of immigrants.... F a i l u r e to provide such f a c i l i t i e s or to a s s i s t i n the cost of further education by governments or employers, lead to the u n d e r u t i l i z a t i o n of immigrant s k i l l s and a b i l i t i e s , as well as f r u s t r a t i o n and disillusionment on the part of immigrants themselves. In modern s o c i e t i e s , a high degree of l i t e r a c y , as well as o r a l fluency, i s needed by a l l those seeking employment i n other than u n s k i l l e d work. (Richmond, 1984, p.113) In conclusion Richmond stated that " s o c i a l , c u l t u r a l and educational p o l i c i e s are needed that w i l l ensure integration Page - 18 within the context of a genuinely polyethnic and m u l t i c u l t u r a l society" (Richmond, 1984, p.122). A study by Alex Stepick and Alejandro Portes on Haitian refugees i n F l o r i d a found that the greatest b a r r i e r s to acculturation were lack of language s k i l l s , the ghettoisation of the refugees and the lack of opportunities to meet English-speaking Americans (Stepick and Portes, 1986) . They also found that there was r a c i a l backlash that resulted i n much prejudice that further i s o l a t e d the refugees from the English speaking l o c a l s . A s i m i l a r backlash has been reported i n Canada against Central American and A f r i c a n refugees. In c i t i e s whose prosperity has attracted the largest share of immigrants - notably Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto - the s h i f t i n g colour balace of society has already spawned outbreaks of open racism...(in consequence) Ottawa has acted to stem the flow of i l l e g i t i m a t e refugees, by, among other things, tightening i t s refugee-screening proceedures. (Maclean's Magazine, 1989, p.15) In conclusion, i t can be seen that while the study of refugees from Central America has not been neglected by academics and the media, i t has not been made a major part of any one study. Rather, i t has been a footnote to other studies that have dealt with other groups of migrants and the impact of Canada's immigration p o l i c y on these other groups. I t i s hoped that t h i s reseach w i l l contribute to t h i s neglected area. Page - 19 Chapter Three Although the major focus of t h i s research i s the reception and coping mechanisms of the refugee claimants i t i s important to understand the forces that have shaped t h e i r attitudes and perceptions p r i o r to a r r i v a l . This background i s included to enable the reader to understand the p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l forces that are at work i n shaping past and current s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l s i t u a t i o n s i n Central America. These forces have been instrumental i n the creation of refugees and are thus germane to t h i s discussion. A P r o f i l e of Central America Why does Central America produce refugees? Central America has always been a b a t t l e ground of cultures. This narrow neck of t r o p i c a l jungle which l i e s between North and South America was the meeting place between cultures long before the a r r i v a l of Columbus. Beginning with the early migrations from Asia during the i c e age, nomadic groups, under pressure from successive waves of new a r r i v a l s i n the north, moved south to Central America where they were forced by geography to form into cohesive s o c i e t i e s f o r t h e i r own protection. As each, new wave, occured so new allegiances had to be forged for s u r v i v a l . The a r r i v a l of the Spanish i n the 16th century changed the whole c u l t u r a l , s o c i a l and economic structure of the area. The Europeans culture was Page - 20 superimposed on the e x i s t i n g cultures and the resultant culture with i t s c l a s s , colour and l i n i a g e structure became dominant. Shortly a f t e r the American War of Independence the colonies within Central America, including Mexico, were encouraged to throw o f f the European yoke, and d i d so, often with the help of the United States. This a i d was reciprocated by allowing c e r t a i n United States i n t e r e s t s to become involved i n Central America. The United States' Monroe Doctrine has been the fulcrum of t h i s c o n f l i c t which has allowed the U. S. government and business to e x p l o i t and dominate Central America. The Monroe Doctrine (December 2, 1823) states i n part: ".. a p r i n c i p l e i n which the r i g h t s and in t e r e s t s of the United States are involved, that the American continents, by the free and independent condition which they have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as subjects f o r future colonization by any European powers. '• In 1904, t h i s doctrine was added to by President Theodore Roosevelt: "Chronic wrongdoing or an impotence which r e s u l t s i n a general loosening of the t i e s of c i v i l i z e d society, may i n America, as elsewhere, ultimately require intervention by some c i v i l i z e d nation, and i n the Western Hemisphere the adherence of the United States to the Monroe doctrine may force the United States, however re l u c t a n t l y , i n flagrant cases of such wrongdoing or impotence, to the exercise of an i n t e r n a t i o n a l p o l i c e power." Page - 21 In 1912, President William Taft added t h i s c o d i c i l to the nation's diplomatic arsenal: "The day i s not f a r distant when three stars and s t r i p e s at three equidistant points w i l l mark our t e r r i t o r i e s : One on the North Pole, another at the Panama Canal and the t h i r d at the South Pole. The whole hemisphere w i l l be ours i n f a c t , as by v i r t u e of s u p e r i o r i t y of race, i t already i s ours morally." To these remarkable statements of p o l i c y can be added the U.S. State Department memorandum of 1927: "We do control the destinies of Central America and we do so for the simple reason that the national i n t e r e s t absolutely dictates such a course....Until now Central America has always understood that governments which we recognize and support stay i n power, while those we do not recognize and support f a l l . " F i n a l l y , i n 1947, President Truman said the United States would: " support free peoples who are r e s i s t i n g attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressure." These measures set the stage for what has happened i n Central America since World War I I . With the war i n Europe and the P a c i f i c over, and the United States' prosperity now f i r m l y entrenched on a war economy, i t was e s s e n t i a l to maintain t h i s momentum. Any attempt to return to the neutral days p r i o r to 1941 would have slowed down the United States economy, and so the war machine r o l l e d on. The "Cold War" i n Europe, followed by the c o n f l i c t s i n Korea and Vietnam, Page - 22 ensured a continuation of t h i s economic model. In Central and South America, minor wars and skirmishes, often engineered by the United States on behalf of U.S.-based multinational corporations, ensured t h e i r hold over the region. The emergence of Castro's "communist" regime i n Cuba, backed by Russia ans China, ensured a continuing i n t e r e s t i n Central and South America. Rosemary Radford Ruether, i n a forward to Renny Golden's and Michael McConnell's book, Sanctuary: The New Underground  Railroad, has t h i s to say about the United States' r o l e i n the "Third World" and more s p e c i f i c a l l y i n Central America: Since the Second World War, (the United States) has developed a permanent war economy. The purpose of t h i s war economy i s to maintain U.S. control throughout the world i n defense of the Western Empire and i t s a b i l i t y to use cheap labour and resources of former colonized regions of the planet. This war economy pursues m i l i t a r y escalation i n the two spheres where i t perceives t h i s control to be threatened— the nuclear arms race with the U.S.S.R., leader of the second world, and counter revolutionary repression i n the t h i r d world. Much of the war against the t h i r d world i s c a r r i e d out through surrogate armies maintained by m i l i t a r y e l i t e s whose power the U.S. funds within those t h i r d world states.... the prime area of such repressive control, backed up by l o c a l m i l i t i a and at times, d i r e c t m i l i t a r y intervention by the U.S., i s Central America, seven t i n y states, with a combined population of le s s than 25 m i l l i o n , that form the "bridge" between North and South America. (Golden,R. & McConnell.M., 1986, Foreward (vi)) The problems faced by Central America during t h i s period are s i m i l a r to those faced by the other emerging nations during the post war period. Since World War II and the res t r u c t u r i n g of global power, the vast majority of Page - 23 voluntary migrations have involved people from developing countries. The subsequent reorganising of national boundaries, as Europe released i t s colonies, and the emergence of the United States as the major force on the world's p o l i t i c a l stage, changed the status quo everywhere. In most developing countries the scarce revenue producing resources were r e a d i l y exported for short term gains. M i l i t a r y spending, inappropriate development projects and economic mismanagement ensured that t h i s wealth r a r e l y benefited those most i n need. Mass poverty and i n s e c u r i t y increased. Better health care i n many t h i r d world countries (India,Africa) enlarged the population, by decreasing the number of infant deaths. This expansion increased the countries population beyond i t s a b i l i t y to feed and cloths i t s c i t i z e n s . The o i l c r i s i s of the seventies increased the massive debt load being incurred by the developing nations, as they sought to cope not only with t h e i r i n t e r n a l problems, but also with t h e i r attempts to "westernize". The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, a f t e r t h e i r overgenerosity i n the previous two decades, were, i n the 1980's forced to d i c t a t e d r a s t i c a u s t e r i t y programs i n the Third World. The e f f e c t of these programs i n v a r i a b l y has f a l l e n on the lower middle class and the poor. This has led to a further d e t e r i o r a t i o n of t h e i r already precarious s i t u a t i o n . This economic c r i s i s has exacerbated the demand to s e l l even more raw materials to the i n d u s t r i a l nations, and has Page - 24 led to e c o l o g i c a l disaster i n many parts of the developing world. Deforestation, d e s e r t i f i c a t i o n , p o l l u t i o n of a i r and water and drought have exacted t h e i r t o l l . A l l these problems, added to those of governmental i n s t a b i l i t y , or, i n many cases i n Central America, m i l i t a r y r u l e , have led to a mass displacement of persons. Mass displacement has become a t r u l y global phenomenon. Many of those uprooted i n the developing countries have made t h e i r way to the i n d u s t r i a l i s e d states, only to be confronted by further s o c i a l and economic c r i s i s . Here recession and r i s i n g unemployment have led to new waves of popular xenophobia. Migrants are increasingly subject to harassment. (Sadruddin Aga Khan and Hassan Bin T a l a l , 1986. Foreward). In Central America, the presence of m i l i t a r y juntas, death squads and revolutionary wars have led to mass trans-border migrations. These migrations have often brought only temporary r e l i e f as the new host country has a l l too often been at c o n f l i c t i t s e l f . During the l a t e r part of the l a s t two decades only Mexico and Costa Rica have not been involved i n 'open' i n t e r n a l s t r i f e . Migration i n Central America, u n t i l the l a t e 1970's, was mainly economic i n nature. People moved pri m a r i l y f o r economic factors such as wage differences, increased employment opportunities and the r u r a l settlement of unoccupied areas. Since 1980, migration has increased d r a s t i c a l l y and has been mainly refugees rather than economic migrants. I t i s estimated (1985) that there are 175,000 refugees from neighbouring countries l i v i n g i n Page - 25 Central America, excluding Panama. Panama and Mexico contribute another 175,000, bringing the estimated t o t a l to 350,000 f o r Mexico and Central America. (Torres-Rivas, 1985) E. Torres-Rivas presented the following data about refugees within the region : Receiving Country of o r i g i n country E l Salvador Guatamala Nicaragua Other Total Mexico 120.000 55,000 175,000 Guatamala 70,000 70,000 Nicaragua 17,500 500 500 18,500 Honduras 19,000 1,000 19,200 39,200 Costa Rica 10,000 1,000 25,000 2,700 38,700 Beli z e / Panama 3,000 5,500 8,500 Total 239,000 63,000 44,200 3,200 349,900 (Torres-Rivas,1985) The receiving countries i n Central America have been hard put to deal with t h i s sudden, and i n some cases massive, i n f l u x of refugees. Many of these countries are themselves undergoing economic c r i s i s and i n t e r n a l s t r i f e yet have attempted to adopt p o l i c i e s and programs to meet the needs of the refugees. In many cases, they have attempted to move the refugees to s p e c i a l camps away from the borders because these refugees are often subject to r e t a l i a t o r y raids or have brought the host country into i n t e r n a t i o n a l dispute by being accused of harbouring rebels and of encouraging t h e i r a c t i v i t i e s . The Central American debt amounts to some $21 b i l l i o n (1985) or a debt, per capita, of $750. At the same time the Page - 26 GNP has declined i n a l l of Central America, including, Costa Rica, the most stable and l e a s t debt ridden country i n the region. (World Bank, 1986) These factors have prevented the Governments involved from being able to supply the support and material a i d the refugees require. Many of the settlement programs have been inadequate or poorly thought out and mass d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n among the refugees has resulted. This resultant d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n has caused many refugees to migrate to the United States of America. The s t r i c t regulations and the increased surveillance of the U.S. border has made i t increasingly hard f o r i l l e g a l s to remain i n the lower U.S. states, e s p e c i a l l y since the Simpson/Mazzoli B i l l of 1982 and the Rodino/Mazzoli B i l l of 1985. These B i l l s have sought to strengthen the enforcement of the immigration laws by providing more funding and by making the penalties f o r the h i r i n g of i l l e g a l s p r o h i b i t i v e l y expensive (up to $10,000 per offence). These measures have ensured a steady t r i c k l e of these displaced people into Canada as refugees. Many of them have f l e d with no cl e a r destination i n mind, have not followed the normal channels, and have arri v e d at Canada's border unprepared for the determination ordeal that now confronts them. For Canada, the United States' intentions and domineering stance i n the south were of l i t t l e concern. U n t i l 1973, our primary concern was maintaining a separate i d e n t i t y from our powerful southern neighbour. Canada, Page - 27 because of i t s lack of population and sovereignty, retained a low p r o f i l e on the world scene. This changed during the Trudeau years (1968-1979,1980-1984) as the then prime minister sought not only to repatriate the co n s t i t u t i o n but also to become a leader and spokesman fo r the non-aligned (those nations perceived to be neither part of the communist block nor part of the North A t l a n t i c Treaty Organisation, (NATO). Canada had u n t i l the 1970's almost no contact with immigrants or refugees from Central America. Canada's f i r s t contact with refugees from south of the Rio Grande was with Chileans. Although t h i s incident i s not within the province of t h i s research i t i l l u s t r a t e s the bias against immigrants and refugees from the region. On September 11, 1973, the Chilean armed forces with the assistance and approval of the CIA (Whitaker, 1987, p.134), staged a coup d ' e t a t , ousting and then executing the f r e e l y elected President, Salvador Allende. Allende represented a l e f t wing c o a l i t i o n known as the "Popular Unity" (P.U.). The P.U., with i t s mandate from the people, challenged the foundations of the r u l i n g class by c o n t r o l l i n g an important element of the state, the executive power. In so doing, they serio u s l y threatened the wellbeing and c a p i t a l of many large multinational corporations operating i n Chile (Anaconda Copper, I.T.&T., and Kennecot Copper). (Dirks.G., 1977 p.244; Whitaker. R., 1987 p.254; G i l b e r t & Lee, 1986 p.123 -124) For the United States, a coup d ' e t a t was the only Page - 28 l o g i c a l solution, and i n view of the Monroe Doctrine, e s s e n t i a l to maintain i t s r o l e as the major powerbroker i n the Americas. Afte r the coup d ' e t a t , the Canadian embassy i n Santiago was swamped by people seeking p o l i t i c a l asylum as the Chilean army s w i f t l y r e t a l i a t e d against the c o a l i t i o n members by rounding up a l l Allende's prominent sympathizers, and placing them under arrest pending t r i a l s and execution. Foreign embassies were soon crowded by refugees fearing f o r t h e i r safety. Canada's responce to the s i t u a t i o n was i n i t i a l l y slow. By the end of December, 1973, Canadian o f f i c i a l s had received approximately 1,400 applications f o r immigration to Canada but only 184 had been approved. (Dirks, 1977 p.248) Despite a major e f f o r t by the Canadian Council of Churches, i t was not u n t i l 1974 that the Canadian government established a s p e c i a l immigration program f o r Chileans c a l l e d "The Special Chilean Movement". By the end of 1978, 6,225 refugees had registered i n the program. G i l b e r t and Lee, i n t h e i r 1986 a r t i c l e , L a t i n American Immigration to Canada, have the following p o s t s c r i p t to t h e i r section on the Special Chilean Movement: Evidence suggests that the Canadian Government d e l i b e r a t e l y slowed down the process of accepting t h i s group of refugees. This became apparent when the program of Chilean refugees i s compared with that involving the Hungarians i n 1956, the Czeckoslovakians i n 1968 and the Ugandan Asians i n 1972....in general terms, i t i s l o g i c a l and understandable that countries l i k e Canada have more sympathy f o r refugees from c e r t a i n regions. However, i t i s also l o g i c a l to conclude that the Page - 29 creation of refugee programs was p o l i t i c a l l y motivated. Human compassion seems to be of less importance when deciding the fate of refugees. (Gilbert & Lee, 1986 p. 125 - 126) The conditions that have lead to the creation of refugees i n Central America are primarily due to the i n s t a b i l i t y of the region, which are the d i r e c t r e s u l t of two major factors - economics and p o l i t i c s . In a l l of Central America, including Mexico, the power and the wealth of the states i s held i n the hands of a small, i n t e r - r e l a t e d group of e l i t e s . The e l i t e s are, more often than not, of European descent whose family have been i n Central America since the early days of the European occupation and control most of the land and finance i n the country. In Mexico, 16% of the population hold and control 85% of a l l the land and wealth i n the country (World Bank Staff, June 1980, p.22). In E l Salvador, 2% of the population hold and control 60% (Salvaide, 1988); i n Guatemala, 3% hold and control 65% (ICCHRLA Annual Report 1989, p.41); i n Nicaragua, p r i o r to the overthrow of Anastasio Somoza i n 1979, 8% held and c o n t r o l l e d 90% (Walker, 1987, p.56). Since then the Sandinistas have r e d i s t r i b u t e d some land l e f t vacant by wealthy landowners who f l e d when Somoza l o s t power, but the d i s t r i b u t i o n of land, power and wealth i s s t i l l not equitable. In most of Central America the wealth and property of the various countries i s not evenly d i s t r i b u t e d . As noted above only a small percentage of each country's c i t i z e n s are wealthy, the majority are poor and subsist on e i t h e r poor Page - 30 landholdings or at low paying jobs i n both r u r a l and urban settings. The middle cl a s s , where i t e x i s t s , i s divided into two disparate groups. The f i r s t i s composed of professionals such as doctors, lawyers, engineers and senior c i v i l servants, who receive reasonable s a l a r i e s and some are able to obtain more through "mordida", meaning "the b i t e " or a bribe. Many of these professionals aspire to j o i n i n g the e l i t e through marriage. The second group, who are not as well paid but who can achieve some benefits, i s composed of mechanics, p r i n t e r s , artisans and junior c i v i l servants who keep the machinery of state running. This d i s p a r i t y between the r i c h and the poor has led to a system of government that has very l i t t l e regard f o r the mass of the people. Their concerns are r a r e l y considered i n any serious administrative planning except i n terms of ensuring that they survive as a passive, p l i a n t and cheap labour force. The f i e l d of p o l i t i c s i s one of money and cl a s s . Those with money and class dominate and co n t r o l . These e l i t e s are, i n turn, c o n t r o l l e d and dominated by huge North American and European multinationals who support the e l i t e s i n exchange for non-interference i n the way they conduct t h e i r business. The aspirations of the cheap labour engendered by these systems, that i s fundamental to the e l i t e s ' huge p r o f i t s , i s ignored. In general i t can be said that the mass of the population, both r u r a l and urban, struggles from day to day Page - 31 to survive. These people are usually farmers, labourors, factory workers, service industry workers and are paid on average i n Central America about $10 -15 or l e s s per day. Much of t h i s work i s seasonal and often hard to obtain and r e t a i n . Injury or i l l n e s s i s cause for dismissal. Add to t h i s struggle the i d e o l o g i c a l wars currently i n progress and the creation of refugees i s assured. The major refugee-producing countries i n Central America, as f a r as Canada i s concerned, are E l Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Other countries i n the region producing p o l i t i c a l refugees include Belize and, more recently, Panama. Mexico also has emigrants but these are generally considered to be economic rather than p o l i t i c a l refugees ( S t a t i s t i c s Canada, Employment & Immigration, 1986) Page - 32 Chapter Four Canada's Immigration Pol i c y and i t e f f e c t on Central  American refugee claimants. This chapter w i l l deal with those sections of the immigration act that have a d i r e c t bearing on the refugee claimant under review and how these sections are applied and interpreted i n Canada. I t w i l l also deal with how some of the d i s p a r i t i e s within the p o l i c y evolved. By the mid 1960 's i t had become obvious that the 1952 Immigration Act need serious r e v i s i o n . Consequently a Royal Commission, under Joseph Sedgewick was undertaken i n 1967. Mr. Sedgewick's recomendations led to the creation of the Immigration Appeal Board (IAB) i n 1967. The IAB was to act as a n o n p o l i t i c a l and nonpartisan buffer between the applicant f o r immigration and the minister responsible for immigration and h i s o f f i c i a l s . In 1973, Robert Andras, Minister of Manpower and Immigration, set about establishing a new comprehensive immigration p o l i c y . He asked for submissions from groups and in d i v i d u a l s across Canada. The r e s u l t s were released i n December 1974. By A p r i l 1978, Canada's "New Consolidated Immigration Act" had passed through a l l i t s stages and had become law. The new act established the four basic p r i n c i p l e s that underlie our present immigration p o l i c y : 1) . Non discrimination. 2) . Family r e u n i f i c a t i o n . 3) . Humanitarian concern for refugees. 4) . Promotion of national goals. (Immigration Act 1978) Page - 33 Immigration was to be linked to Canada's population and labour market. The act, unlike previous ones, also required v i s i t o r s to obtain visas outside of Canada, and prohibited v i s i t o r s from changing status while within the country.On refugees, the act states as follows: An immigrant who i s not a member of a prohibited class designated i n section 5 of the Act (certain classes of criminals,prostitutes etc) may be granted landing i n Canada i f a) he i s a refugee protected by the convention;.... Convention under the act i s defined as: "Convention" means the United Nations Convention r e l a t i n g to the Status of Refugees signed i n Geneva on July 28th, 1951 and includes any Protocol thereto r a t i f i e d or acceded to by Canada. (Immigration Appeal Board Act: Immigration adjustment of Status Regulations. (Chapter 941 of the Immigration Act. A p r i l 1978) This section also deals with "landing" and grants the applicant, refugee status, which e n t i t l e s that person to reside i n Canada u n t i l the outcome of a s p e c i a l inquiry conducted under the Immigration Inquiries Regulations, at which the presiding o f f i c e r s h a l l : Inform the person being examined that the purpose of the hearing i s to determine whether he i s a person who may be admitted, allowed to come into Canada, or to remain i n Canada, as the case may be, and that i n the event a decision i s made at the inquiry that he i s not such a person, an order w i l l be made f o r h i s departure from Canada. An e a r l i e r provision within the Act allows f o r : Page - 34 "an interpreter who i s conversant i n the language of the applicant and the cost of such interpreter s h a l l be born by the Department of Employment and Immigration". Regarding deportation, " No person s h a l l , pursuant to Subsection 37(1) of the Act, be included i n a deportation order unless the person has f i r s t been given an opportunity of e s t a b l i s h i n g to an immigration o f f i c e r that he should not be excluded." Furthermore, i n Section 12(c), i t states: where the presiding o f f i c e r has reason to believe, from imformation obtained at the inquiry or otherwise, that the person (i) claims to be a refugee or a Canadian c i t i z e n , or ( i i ) may be a refugee,[he s h a l l ] inform him of the r i g h t of appeal based on a claim described i n paragraph 11(1) (c) or (d) of the Immigration Appeal Board Act under the Act and the procedure to be followed i n exercising such r i g h t of appeal." (Immigration Act 1978) What a l l t h i s means, i s : a person who comes to Canada and asks f o r asylum as a refugee i s normally admitted to Canada, and then undergoes a determination process. However, because of the large number of claimants who have applied from within Canada since 1978, the process has become bogged down. Delays of up to f i v e years before completion of the determination process are not unusual. Delays are caused by the lack of trained interpreters and counsel and the small number of appeal board personnel, and involve lengthy waits between i n i t i a l hearings and appeals. There i s a major stumbling block that most refugees face: namely, though they are at r i s k personally, they often are unable to provide documentary proof of the threat from which they are f l e e i n g . Page - 35 The United Nations Protocol, to which Canada became a signatory i n 1967, states: A refugee...is a person who has a "well founded" fear of being persecuted f o r reasons of race, r e l i g i o n , n a t i o n a l i t y , membership of a p a r t i c u l a r s o c i a l group or p o l i t i c a l opinion. (U.N. Protocol, 1951) Most refugees' have a problem proving that a "well founded fear of persecution" e x i s t s . Boards of inquiry have chosen to i n t e r p r e t t h i s phrase as meaning (in the words of V i c t o r Malarek) that the refugee be reguired to prove he was eith e r i n d i v i d u a l l y persecuted, harassed, tortured or imprisoned f o r h i s b e l i e f s , [or] he would have to e s t a b l i s h that the bomb or m i s s i l e that devastated h i s v i l l a g e , k i l l i n g 650 people and wounding another 1,500, was meant " s p e c i f i c a l l y " f o r him. (Malarek, 1987, p.97) This narrow inte r p r e t a t i o n of the Convention has meant a high r e j e c t i o n rate and a lengthy appeal process i n case a f t e r case, ensuring that the ensuing backlog has grownlarger and larger. The high r e j e c t i o n rate, i n turn, has prompted many to use s t a t i s t i c s to show that most applicants are not r e a l refugees but rather "economic re f u g e e s " — a derogatory term currently much i n vogue. When Canada signed the U.N. Convention i n 1969, the nation was committed to accepting refugees based on t h e i r need f o r succor rather than on t h e i r s u i t a b i l i t y as Canadian immigrants, as had previously been the case. Section 3(g) of the 1976 Immigration Act states: "[the need] to f u l f i l l Page - 36 Canada's int e r n a t i o n a l obligations with respect to refugees and to uphold i t s humanitarian obligations with respect to the displaced and the persecuted". When t h i s was written, the government did not anticipate that refugees would be applying from within Canada. I t had always been assumed that refugees would be from countries which were geographically unconnected to North America, and that the refugees' distance at time of application would s t i l l ensure "de facto" government a b i l i t y to pick and choose, from the mass of refugees applying, those who would be of value and benefit to Canada. The a r r i v a l of refugees from South and Central America i n the 1980's caught Ottawa o f f guard. The Immigration Act guaranteed i n d i v i d u a l s a hearing on t h e i r claim f o r refugee status, regardless of how they came to Canada, and now the government could not t r e a t these applicants s e l e c t i v e l y . There were few refugee claimants u n t i l the l a t e 1970s, due to the great distance between most refugee-producing countries and Canada. During the 1970s Canada sponsored refugees (on request of the United Nations) i n a number of c r i s i s s i t u a t i o n s . These included the East Indian Ugandans forced by President I d i Amin to leave Uganda on short notice i n August 1972 ; the Chileans forced to leave Chile a f t e r the murder of President Salvador Allende i n September 1973; and the boat people who f l e d Indo-china following the f a l l of Saigon i n A p r i l 1975. These well-publicized intakes of sponsored refugees were followed by a seri e s of i l l e g a l Page - 37 movements. Those i l l e g a l migrants who reached Canada generally consisted of groups or ind i v i d u a l s who had f l e d e i t h e r by boat or plane. On a r r i v a l i n Canada they had asked fo r asylum. Freda Hawkins explains t h i s second wave as follows: I t i s well-known that l e g a l immigration and refugee movements often i n s p i r e or set i n motion i l l e g a l movements i n the same d i r e c t i o n . The ancient commerce of immigration also f l o u r i s h e s today i n the i n t e r s t i c e s and within the loopholes of immigration law. We are also witnessing the early stages of a remarkable out-migration by a l l av a i l a b l e means from t h i r d world countries as knowledge of the higher l i v i n g standards and safer, more secure l i f e i n the developed world becomes more widespread....Refugees and undocumented migrants are i n fac t competing today f o r admission to countries of f i r s t asylum and permanant settlement. (Freda Hawkins, 1988, p.131) During t h i s i n i t i a l period the Canadian Immigration act allowed f o r v i s i t o r s to apply for immigration status within Canada. This loophole was closed i n November 1972. Subsequently i n July 1973, a b i l l was presented that allowed only genuine refugees to applying from within Canada. These fac t s have led to a number of publications that have dealt with the abuse of the system rather than about the claimants themselves. The sudden i n f l u x , i n the l a t e 1970's, of South /American refugees, mostly Chilean, forced the then-minister, Lloyd /Axworthy, to e s t a b l i s h a task force under W.G. Robinson. Robinson presented h i s report " I l l e g a l Migrants Page - 38 i n Canada" i n June of 1983. The report recommended that an amended refugee determination process be devised to deal with these "queue jumpers", and that i t be implemented at the " f i r s t opportunity". He further stated: . . . i t [the refugee determination process] has outgrown i t s l e g i s l a t i v e garment. Moreover, i t must be given the capacity to deal e f f e c t i v e l y with abusive claims. Otherwise our resources w i l l be squandered i n f i g h t i n g a rearguard action i n Canada, when they could be so much more e f f i c i e n t l y deployed i n attacking refugee problems at t h e i r source. (W.G.Robinson, 1983. p.109) The conclusions of t h i s report were f e l t to be unsatisfactory by Axworthy. However, the L i b e r a l government, of which he was part, was soon afterwards defeated. Axworthy was replaced by John Roberts of the Conservatives, who commissioned another study. In 1984, Ed Ratushny completed t h i s study and presented i t to Roberts. The new report, e n t i t l e d "A New Refugee Status Determination Process f o r Canada", pointed out the many flaws i n the system then i n place, and recommended quick action. Of f i r s t importance was the fac t that the old system caused some people, who were refugees, but who were unable to prove t h e i r claims, to be sent back to t h e i r countries of o r i g i n , with the threat of persecution, imprisonment, or even execution. The report prompted Roberts to i n i t i a t e a second study. This time Rabbi W.Gunther Plaut was selected to head i t . Simultaneously, the Supreme Court of Canada handed down a Page - 39 r u l i n g that altered the determination process. The court upheld the refugee's r i g h t to a f u l l o r a l hearing before the appeal board. P r i o r to t h i s r u l i n g , appeal hearings were based on the written submissions of the admitting o f f i c e r , and tapes or t r a n s c r i p t s made at the time of the applicant's o r i g i n a l hearing. A l l subsequent appeals under the system were based on procedural c r i t e r i a and not on whether a claim was j u s t i f i e d on i t s own merits. Flora MacDonald, who was by now minister, did not challenge the Supreme Court r u l i n g , and the process was changed to allow f o r o r a l hearings. In A p r i l 1985, Rabbi Plaut presented h i s report to MacDonald. I t was tabled before the House of Commons two months l a t e r . At t h i s time, i t was estimated that 13,000 refugee claimants needed to be processed, at a projected cost of $3,500 each. By September 1986, the case load had grown to 23,000 refugee claimants and the delay within an ind i v i d u a l ' s hearing process had grown from the o r i g i n a l s i x months to as much as f i v e years. Rabbi Plaut, i n wri t i n g about the processing of refugee claims made within Canada, states: These have become protracted and cumbersome and have occasioned serious backlogs....Measured by the immensity of the world-wide refugee problem, the task of determining the status of persons who claim refugee status inside Canada i s rather small. Generally a few thousand persons a year make such a claim (actual figures based on the f i s c a l year for 1980 - 1981 were 2,434; f o r 1981 -1982, 3,726; fo r 1982 - 1983, 3,640; and fo r 1983 - 1984, 6,792). Yet, as indicated, Page - 40 the process of reaching a f i n a l determination has become complex and the delay considerable. At present i t may take between two and f i v e years before a claim i s decided.... For those who indeed are refugees such a delay i s i n t o l e r a b l e from any humane point of view. Their l i v e s are i n shambles to begin with, and with every month that passes the opportunity f o r an early rebuilding of t h e i r existance on a permanent foundation i s delayed. (W.G. Plaut, 1985. Foreward) As pointed out e a r l i e r , Canada signed the U.N. Convention and Protocol i n 1969, and gave i t l e g i s l a t i v e force i n the 1976 Immigration Act. The recognition of the convention created the l e g a l concept of a convention refugee, and used the convention d e f i n i t i o n outlined e a r l i e r . Canada did not, however, provide an automatic r i g h t of asylum, only a r i g h t of protection against "refoulement". The p r i n c i p l e of "non-refoulement" i s fundamental to the ent i r e structure of i n t e r n a t i o n a l actions i n favour of refugees, and guarantees that no person claiming refugee status w i l l be sent back un w i l l i n g l y to the country from which they have f l e d f o r reasons covered by the U.N. Convention. Canada can, and does, deport refugee claimants to " t h i r d party" countries through which they have passed during t h e i r journey to Canada. In the case of Central and South Americans, t h i s " t h i r d party" country i s usually the United States. The United States i s not, however, a signatory to the U.N. Refugees' Convention i t s e l f , and has no qualms about sending L a t i n American refugees back to t h e i r countries of o r i g i n . The 1976 Immigration Act states, "Entry into Canada i s a Page - 41 p r i v i l e g e conferred by Canada upon the entrant". This statement of sovereignty, found i n most countries, knows no l i m i t a t i o n s and applies to v i s i t o r s and refugees a l i k e who apply from outside Canada. For them, the Canadian government has the r i g h t to refuse entry. For those already i n Canada, who apply a f t e r a r r i v a l for refugee status, the s i t u a t i o n i s d i f f e r e n t . Such persons must be dealt with i n the context of our international obligations which are part of Canadian Law, and a person who i s a refugee as defined by the Convention may not be returned to his/her country of persecution....Declaring a claimant to be a refugee i s , then, not a p r i v i l e g e we grant, but rather a r i g h t we acknowledge. (W.G. Plaut, 1985. Foreward) Rabbi Plaut, i n h i s report, i s c r i t i c a l of the process of refugee status determination and makes many v a l i d recommendations. He i s , however, most c r i t i c a l of the delays within the system and warns of i t s negative e f f e c t s on claimants. The structure of the Act and i t s administration have made "in-status" claimants i n e l i g i b l e f o r employment authorization. Often, to support themselves during the determination process, claimants must therefore v i o l a t e the law. (W.G. Plaut, 1985, p.37) As mentioned e a r l i e r , t h i s problem has since been r e c t i f i e d . In 1987,most claimants were given work permits, except Page - 42 married women with husbands e l i g i b l e and able to work. In May 1986, the then junior minister of Employment and Immigration, Walter McLean, announced a new program. He ushered i t i n by saying: there i s agreement that claims to refugee status should be treated f a i r l y , humanely and expeditiously....this Government has given very c a r e f u l consideration to a l l the views expressed by refugee a i d groups, church groups and ethnic organizations across the country. (House of Commons, May 1986) The new program got underway i n September, but was immediately c r i t i c i z e d by refugee groups and the Canadian Bar Association because of i t s appeal procedure. Under t h i s procedure, appeals could only be launched against procedural inconsistencies and not on the merit of the claim. F i n a l l y , i n May 1987, a new b i l l regarding refugee determination was presented to the House by Benoit Bouchard. He declared that the new b i l l , ...ensures that no genuine refugee w i l l be returned to a country where they may face persecution. I t also ensures that refugee claims w i l l be processed f a i r l y and quickly. I t w i l l now only take months to process a claim, not years. (House of Commons, May 1987) This b i l l established a Convention Refugee Determination Board (RDB). This board would be an independent quasi-j u d i c i a l body consisting of a two-person panel; the hearing would be non-adversarial; the claimant would have the r i g h t to counsel; and only one board member need f i n d f o r the Page - 43 claimant f o r h i s or her claim to be accepted. Negative decisions, which obviously need be unanimous, could be appealed (with leave) to the Federal Court of Canada, but only on matters of law. The new b i l l of 1987 was based p r i m a r i l y on the findings and recommendations of Rabbi Plaut, e s p e c i a l l y with regard to the sections on refugees and refugee determination. Rabbi Plaut, i n h i s extensive report "Refugee Determination i n Canada", was not j u s t concerned with the mechanics of the refugee determination process, but also with the humanitarian treatment of claimants. In section IV, "Further Considerations", he recommended that while "awaiting the decision, refugee claimants must eat, sleep, be clothed and l i v e i n d i g n i t y . " He argued that our very signing of the U.N. Convention, "has an implied o b l i g a t i o n to ensure that claimants are provided with the necessities of l i f e and are i n a p o s i t i o n to f u l l y pursue t h e i r claim to protection." This aspect of the problem had previously been recognized i n the 1976 Act i n section 8.10(4)(a). ...Canada's l e g i s l a t i o n and p o l i c y with regard to refugees i s . . . t o ensure that persons claiming to be Convention Refugees are given every opportunity and assistance to advance t h e i r claim; (Immigration Act, 1976, p.144) and i n Section 8.11(2). .. .we must make i t possible f o r claimants to await the outcome of t h e i r claims without undue physical or economic hardship. (Immigration Act, 1976, p.144-145) Page - 44 Rabbi Plaut concludes t h i s section by saying "While our e f f o r t s have been well intentioned, the p r a c t i c a l r e s u l t s have often been less than s a t i s f a c t o r y . 1 1 The a r r i v a l of L a t i n Americans i n Canada i s , i n r e l a t i v e terms, a recent phenomena. S t a t i s t i c s Canada indicates that of the almost four m i l l i o n immigrants to enter Canada between 1946 and 1973 only 55,289 (1.4%) were from L a t i n American countries. (Canada Census 1981) This number includes a l l of the immigrants from a l l of L a t i n America; that i s , a l l South America as well as Central America, including Mexico, Cuba, San Domingo and Puerto Rico, but not those of the Guyanas or Surinam. Since 1973, the number has escalated as repressive m i l i t a r y juntas have replaced the old a r i s t o c r a t i c orders. From 1973 to 1981, 40,000 immigrants sought out Canada as a future home. The i n i t i a l waves of immigrants from L a t i n America d i d not include many from Central America. These immigrants more often sought out the United States of America as a new domicile. An appreciation of the change that has occurred since 1981 can be seen i n the immigrant figures from E l Salvador: 1963 -1972 88 1981 292 1973 127 1982 857 1974 232 1983 2,551 1975 178 1984 2,557 1976 194 1985 3,236 1977 126 1986 3,014 1978 102 1987 4,344 Page - 45 1979 108 1988 1980 112 1989 (Employment and Immigration Canada 1989) This increase can be d i r e c t l y r e l a t e d to the October 1979 m i l i t a r y coup that overthrew General Carlos Romero, and the subsequent collapse of a succession of m i l i t a r y juntas that t r i e d to run the country. The well p u b l i c i s e d execution of a l l opposition leaders on the 27th of November 1980 was the t r i g g e r that lead to the sudden increase i n the emigration of the mainly middle c l a s s . I t should be noted that most refugees take an average of two years to reach Canada from the time they leave. This includes both sponsored and declared refugees. As mentioned e a r l i e r , refugee claimants are often "at r i s k " while awaiting the outcome of the determination process. The reasons f o r t h i s are rooted i n the s i t u a t i o n s i n which refugee claimants f i n d themselves. Boredom and f r u s t r a t i o n at t h e i r s i t u a t i o n , without the r e l i e f of either work or school, lead many into committing criminal acts. Some claimants have had to wait over f i v e years and i n , one case personally known to me, eight years (personal interview with applicant). The wait, e s p e c i a l l y before January 1989, at which time claimants were given permission to work l e g a l l y i n Canada, has ensured that many have become d i s p i r i t e d and unable to successfully cope with the r e s t r i c t i o n s of a job. Even when these problems are overcome, the d i f f i c u l t y of f i n d i n g employment, given the Page - 46 language and c u l t u r a l b a r r i e r s that e x i s t , causes problems, and usually r e s u l t s i n spurts of short-term work at minimum wage. The temptation to make money i l l e g a l l y or to engage i n i l l e g a l a c t i v i t i e s as a source of excitement i s , f o r many, overpowering. The abject poverty many l e f t behind i n Central America i s highlighted by the r e l a t i v e l y a f f l u e n t Canadian l i f e s t y l e , and crime seems an easy way to obtain t h i s l i f e s t y l e , rather than e x i s t i n g i n a boring and s t i l l r e l a t i v e l y impoverished limbo. While subsisting on welfare, unable to work fo r many reaons, education i s denied thse refugee claimants. Undoubtedly, itwould make them better eventual c i t i z e n s , and would enable them to function more succe s s f u l l y i n Canadian society. Even simple English as a Second Language t r a i n i n g i s not r e a d i l y available i n B r i t i s h Columbia (in Ontario, the p r o v i n c i a l government has provided ESL f o r a l l , including refugee claimants), except through church and volunteer groups. As Rabbi Plaut emphasizes i n h i s report: The immigration regulations as they presently e x i s t do not provide f o r the issuance of student authorization to claimants and t h e i r children.[Where i t exists] This i s generally handled i n an extra-legal fashion whereby the CEIC (Canadian Employment and Immigration Commision) assures the school a u t h o r i t i e s that i t w i l l overlook v i o l a t i o n s of the Immigration Act, 1976. The immigration regulations should be amended to permit refugee claimants and t h e i r families to apply for and obtain student authorization. (Plaut, 1985, p.149) The CEIC has generally interceded on behalf of children. In Page - 47 Ontario, they have interceded on behalf of c e r t a i n groups of adult claimants, but i n the r e s t of the country, including B r i t i s h Columbia, they have ignored the p l i g h t of the adult claimants. Rabbi Plaut's recommendations were ignored i n the new l e g i s l a t i o n and so the burden of educating adult refugee claimants s t i l l f a l l s mainly to volunteer groups. Putting the question of educational opportunities aside, another factor that has ensured a slow response to Central American refugees has been our r e l a t i o n s h i p with the United States, and the need to ensure our and t h e i r national secu r i t y . A l l the countries of Central America, except Nicaragua, are supported, both f i n a n c i a l l y and m i l i t a r i l y , by the United States. This means that any person f l e e i n g t h e i r "legitimate" government i s automatically an enemy of the state, and therefore someone of doubtful p o l i t i c a l o r i e n t a t i o n . In the United States, the perception, e s p e c i a l l y i n security terms, i s that i f you are not " r i g h t wing" you must be " l e f t wing".This s i m p l i f i c a t i o n , and the equally s i m p l i s t i c American perception that a l l Central American countries (other than Nicaragua) are democracies, has, i n the United States, enabled l e g i s l a t o r s to enact measures that ensure that refugees from these "democracies" are denied entry. Reg Whitaker, i n h i s book "Double Standard", claims that much of the severity extant i n the implementation of the Canadian Immigration Act towards Central and L a t i n American refugees i s i n response to U.S. Page - 48 Cold War p o l i c y . Talking about the new immigration act of 1987, he states: ...when the t o r i e s did apply the brakes, i t was apparent that the r e a l target of t h e i r wrath were the Central and Lat i n Americans, whose claims were legitimate by any reasonable measure— except the old and not-so-reasonable measure of the cold war. (Whitaker, 1987, p.296) Gerald Dirk echoes t h i s perception: Regardless of the p r e v a i l i n g Immigration Act, refugees from L a t i n America have never been the r e c i p i e n t s of as prompt or as l i b e r a l treatment as individ u a l s from such regions as Eastern Europe. This state of a f f a i r s has been and continues to be at t r i b u t a b l e to p o l i t i c a l , administrative and i d e o l o g i c a l considerations on the part of various Canadian governments rather than to any discriminatory features of immigration l e g i s l a t i o n . (Dirks, 1977, p.246) Under the old Act of 1976, refugee claimants had to undergo the lengthy wait of the determination process. They also were hard put to survive, i n our society, without r e s o r t i n g to criminal acts, thus putting themselves i n a p o s i t i o n whereby they could r e a d i l y be deported. Nevertheless, they were admitted and permitted to stay u n t i l the determination process s e t t l e d t h e i r fate. Today, with the new act i n place, refugee claimants must make t h e i r claim while s t i l l t e c h n i c a l l y i n the United States. I f they do not make a claim upon entry, they are considered to be i n Canada i l l e g a l l y . The new rules also f o r b i d c a r r i e r s such as the a i r l i n e s and bus companies from transporting anyone from Page - 49 s p e c i f i c countries into Canada without v a l i d t r a v e l documents. The l i s t includes a l l the countries of Central and South America,but not the Soviet bloc, or Southeast Asian countries. Reg Whitaker states: Salvadoreans and Guatemalans were stopped at the U.S. border and t o l d to wait i n the U.S. while immigration i n q u i r i e s i n Canada were arranged. Canadian authorities explained that they had an agreement with the U.S. that no one awaiting a Canadian inquiry would be deported. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service o f f i c i a l s scoffed at t h i s and stated f l a t l y that anyone who had a criminal record or "derogatory information" on h i s f i l e would be deported. "Derogatory information" i s a code term for "national security r i s k " . This i s t r u e l y a v i c i o u s c i r c l e , since the U.S. defines v i r t u a l l y anyone who f l e e s one of i t s right-wing c l i e n t states as a Communist. (Whitiker, 1987, p.296-297) The new Immigration Act of 1987 seems e s p e c i a l l y designed to discriminate against Convention refugees. Refugees from Communist states generally f a l l under the "designated-class" provisions and so are treated more l i k e immigrants than l i k e refugees. The new amendments have s h i f t e d the burden of proof that a person i s s p e c i f i c a l l y at r i s k -jbnto the claimant. I t has further ensured that claimants are i n e l i g i b l e f o r work or schooling (this has since changed since work permits were generally granted as of January 1, 1989). The new determination system has also severely l i m i t e d a claimant's r i g h t to appeal a negative decision of the two-person board. Page - 50 Chapter Five The Problems of Latin American Male Refugees Central American refugees or immigrants a r r i v e i n Canada i n two d i s t i n c t ways. The f i r s t i s as immigrants -people who have applied from within t h e i r country of o r i g i n and been accepted. These people meet the guidelines f o r entry into Canada and are generally from the middle c l a s s , have had a f a i r amount of education and are healthy. They also have s k i l l s , trades or professions that are i n short supply i n Canada. The s p e c i f i c guidelines are found i n section 44 of the Immigration Act. These people are part of Canada's ongoing program of immigration and t h e i r numbers are l e g i s l a t e d each year by the Department of Employment and Immigration. These persons r a r e l y s u f f e r the trauma of refugees as they often a r r i v e with marketable s k i l l s and, i n many cases, jobs and housing. The second come as refugees. Refugees come i n two ways. They either seek asylum abroad at Canadian consular f a c i l i t i e s or from within refugee camps i n host countries v i s i t e d by Canada's teams of immigration o f f i c i a l s . Successful applicants are accepted under a yearly c e i l i n g set by the Federal Government. Otherwise they come here as v i s i t o r s , students or i l l e g a l a r r i v a l s , and at some time thereafter apply f o r refugee status from within our Page - 51 borders. These l a t t e r refugees were, u n t i l January 1989 dealt with under the immigration act of 1976. Each of the groups i s treated by the Canadian Government through Employment and Immigration Canada under d i f f e r e n t categories. Immigrants are accorded a l l the benefits of Canadian society on a r r i v a l and are often helped f i n a n c i a l l y . This includes education and language t r a i n i n g where applicable. Sponsored refugees enjoy most of the benefits of immigrants and i n most cases the head of the household receives further help and t r a i n i n g to ensure that he or she does not become a burden on society. On the other hand, refugees who claim status inside Canada were, u n t i l January 1st 1989, given refugee claimant status which e n t i t l e d them to remain i n Canada, but were not allowed to seek work or education. They were required, u n t i l t h e i r determination process was completed, to wait. Some refugees were given claimant status under " m i n i s t e r i a l permits", and these claimants were often, a f t e r some delay, given permission to work. However, neither they nor the other refugee claimants were accorded a l l the normal r i g h t s a v a i l a b l e to Canadians or any of the help accorded sponsored refugees. These benefits include free language t r a i n i n g and assistance with housing and job t r a i n i n g . Page - 52 This difference i n treatment has resulted i n a marginalized group of refugees who must survive on $468 per month welfare while awaiting the determination process. This payment, not unnaturally, forces them to l i v e i n the cheaper areas of our c i t i e s . The refugees i n question are predominantly single men between the ages 18 and 40. They generally have low l e v e l s of education, and few, i f any, marketable job s k i l l s and l i t t l e a b i l i t y to speak English or French. They are often s u f f e r i n g from mental and emotional traumas, as a r e s u l t of t h e i r past experiences, both i n t h e i r country of o r i g i n and during t h e i r journey to Canada. These traumas, and the p l i g h t i n which they f i n d themselves, often lead to alcoholism and drug dependence. The need to obtain i l l i c i t substances, i n turn, often leads to involvement with criminal elements. Alcohol i s generally the most abused substance among the male L a t i n American refugee population, drugs are only used by a small f r a c t i o n of the group. Whether those with these d i s a b i l i t i e s were a l c o h o l i c or drug-dependent before a r r i v a l i s not cl e a r , but c e r t a i n l y the long wait f o r the determination of t h e i r status has taken i t s t o l l and, i f not dependent before a r r i v a l , many are now. Regarding the s i t u a t i o n i n Vancouver, Pablo Bazerque (Spanish speaking str e e t worker with the Downtown Eastside Youth A c t i v i t i e s Society, DEYAS), with Page - 53 whom I worked as a volunteer at the Downtown Eastslde Youth A c t i v i t y Society and whom I consulted i n the process of t h i s study, stated that much of h i s time during h i s working day was spent i n a s s i s t i n g those refugee claimants who had become involved with the law. The most common offense was "drunk i n a pub l i c place", but increasingly, he was having to deal with those who had been arrested f or working as "mu l e s " — c a r r i e r s f o r the drug trade. i t i s in t e r e s t i n g to note that Pablo sees that h i s r o l e as a s o c i a l worker i s often at odds with other s o c i a l agencies. I see my r o l e as one of helping people get o f f the street and on with t h e i r l i v e s — bringing those who are not i n the system into i t by whatever means. Betrayal, p o l i c e intervention or whatever else, as long as they get into the system. Once into the system (I) ensure they stay i n the system and do not return to t o t a l dependence on the st r e e t . I f e e l that Employment and Immigration Canada are not overly concerned. They are very protective of moneys—require receipts f o r rent, etc. before giving funds, e s p e c i a l l y emergency funds. (Pablo Bazerque, May 4, 1989) William Smiley suggests that new a r r i v a l s to Canada receive a double message regarding c u l t u r a l expectations. On the one hand, i t (Canadian society) seems closed and cold, while on the other hand, i t seems open and l i b e r a l . They see Canadian youth culture as being free and undisciplined. Drug and alcohol abuse i s seen to be almost normal behaviour.... the f i r s t impression many latinos get of Canadian society i s somewhat negative. (W. Smiley, 1989) Page - 54 While attending the Symposium for L a t i n American youth, one of the speakers ( o r i g i n a l l y from E l Salvador) made the following statement: We come from countries i n c o n f l i c t . Our family si t u a t i o n s are d i f f i c u l t . We often have to l e t our families down because of the difference i n culture. The treatment of us by the l o c a l s can be discriminatory. We need to f i n d i d e n t i t y as Latins but we often look to the wrong areas. We look to crime. Because we are from E l Salvador we have seen bad things, death and k i l l i n g s . Canada i s p a c i f i s t . The e f f e c t i s to make one unsure, e s p e c i a l l y i f we l i v e alone with no family. I t i s very hard to succeed without support. Crime, alcohol and drugs are an easier solution! (Tania, from E l Salvador, May 27 1989) The determination process, on which so much depends, has kept t h i s group of in d i v i d u a l s i n limbo f o r up to f i v e years i n some cases. Ottawa, i n an attempt to c l e a r up the growing backlog, has begun a new program. A release from the Minister of Employment and Immigration dated March 31st,1989 states: The process of assessing the 85,000 cases i n the backlog for a creditable basis f o r refugee status i s expected to take about two years to complete....Permission to work was given to backlog claimants e f f e c t i v e January 12, 1989 with a change i n the employment authorisation regulations. (Ministry of Employment & Immigration,1989) This a b i l i t y to work has, f o r some, been an opportunity to get on with t h e i r l i v e s . Those able to take advantage of t h e i r new status and with s p e c i a l i z e d s k i l l s , h a v e moved out of the East end and found lodgings elsewhere i n the c i t y . However, the p u l l of the group and the need to converse i n Spanish has kept even these i n Page - 55 touch with t h e i r less fortunate compadres. Those who are un s k i l l e d and speak l i t t l e English, have found some work i n seasonal j o b s — farming ( f r u i t - p i c k i n g e t c . ) , construction or t o u r i s t - r e l a t e d (dish-washing, etc.) These jobs are ones i n which only minimal English i s required. Jobs, for t h i s group are only temporary and the men are forced by economics to remain i n the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. C o n f l i c t between Latinos and the non-Hispanic l o c a l residents has recently become a problem and a number of v i o l e n t incidents have taken place. The use of Oppenheimer park on Powell Street, i n the down-town East-side, became the scene of a number of, at times v i o l e n t , confrontations during the summer of 1990. The Latinos wanted to use the park to play soccer while the l o c a l non-Hispanics wanted to play s o f t b a l l . Another place at which c o n f l i c t occurs i s at the community centre at 44 Alexander street , here the arguement i s over the evening recr e a t i o n a l a c t i v i t i e s and i n p a r t i c u l a r the types of films to be shown on the video. During the winter the Latinos tend to congregate at "44 Alexander Place" Community Centre or at the Carnegie Library. The community centre o f f e r s entertainment f a c i l i t i e s and cheap meals and the l i b r a r y o f f e r s a drop i n ESL program a couple of evenings a week as well as economical snacks and the opportunity to read the newspaper and look up employment opportunities. During. Page - 56 the r e s t of the year the Latinos tend to congregate i n Oppenheimer Park. Most evenings when the weather i s f a i r , they can be found there playing soccer, l i s t e n i n g to music or discussing l i f e . At present, i t i s estimated that there are between two and three hundred singl e male refugees from Central America i n Vancouver. This figure was obtained from the Spanish-speaking streetworker from the Downtown East Side Youth Program, Pablo Bazergue, who also gives the following p r o f i l e of the community of Latinos i n the Downtown East Side: Refugee backlog i n B.C. -5192 persons of Central American o r i g i n . Single males represent -300 approximately (some movement between Montreal, Toronto & Vancouver). The single males are generally poor, or from poor backgrounds, and can be divided into two d i s t i n c t groups— r u r a l and urban. R u r a l — i l l i t e r a t e , and regarded as "dumb" or naive by the re s t of the Central American community - v i r t u a l l y no education. Urban— usually i l l i t e r a t e , but "street smart" - average education grade three. I l l i t e r a c y - estimated at 60 - 70%. (My study, using a small sample, d i d not support some of Pablo's views) These singl e men are lonely, often war-traumatized and desperately i n need of emotional support. This s i t u a t i o n has led many of these men to set up informal r e l a t i o n s h i p s with native Indian women (the reason f o r Page - 57 t h e i r choice i s said to be that they are the "only ones a v a i l a b l e " ) . Native women are patient and tend to wait to get respect and attention r e l a t i v e to European-Canadian women. This t r a i t finds favour with Central American men, who tend to f e e l that women should be quiet and subservient. Native Indian women are c u l t u r a l l y closer to Latinos i n outlook and expectations than European women are. Also European women tend to prefer educated men and see Latinos as i l l i t e r a t e f a i l u r e s . However the mingling of Native Indian women and Latinos i s not very smooth, as the L a t i n men become very aggressive, and occasionally resort to violence to correct the f a u l t s they see i n t h e i r partners. Drug dependence and heavy drinking are not acceptable behavior for women i n Latino culture, and are often excuses f o r violence. (Octavio Paz, 1959) Latinos are also shocked at the sexual promiscuity among native Indian women. Lat i n men are generally not pimps and " w i l l not put women to work, (Pablo)" and indeed w i l l use violence to stop " t h e i r " women being involved i n p r o s t i t u t i o n . L a t i n men have also been known to beat up t h e i r native Indian partners to stop them from using drugs. "Do not f i x (ingest or i n j e c t narcotics) when with me" i s a common agreement made between Hispanic/native couples. However, paradoxically, they may ask t h e i r partners to help them s e l l drugs. The Latino men are very protective of t h e i r Indian partners, and only become aggressive with them when these women continue to use Page - 58 drugs or large amounts of alcohol, or return to p r o s t i t u t i o n . (Pablo Bazerque, 1990; Roger Barany,1990) The family-class refugees of L a t i n American o r i g i n , i n contrast to the single male refugees, are often from the middle-class i n t h e i r country of o r i g i n . They usually have arr i v e d as "sponsored refugees", e i t h e r d i r e c t l y from t h e i r countries of o r i g i n , or from refugee camps i n neighbouring countries. (Approximately 4,800 are, l i k e the s i n g l e male refugees, people who applied f o r refugee status from within Canada. They to, i n terms of employment and eduction, have had to await the r e s u l t s of t h e i r determination process. Their c h i l d r e n are however e l i g i b l e f o r regular schooling.) "Sponsored" refugees are often professionals, and although r e s e n t f u l of the many blocks i n t h e i r path, regarding regaining t h e i r professional status i n Canada, are generally able to create new l i v e s for themselves and t h e i r f a m i l i e s . Their i n a b i l i t y to obtain professional status i n Canada i s generally due to a lack of English and the extra educational requirements necessary f o r Canadian c e r t i f i c a t i o n , to which a l l professional immigrants i n professional f i e l d s are subject. "Sponsored" refugees are able to e s t a b l i s h , with government and community support, a t o l e r a b l e and not too unpleasant new l i f e . Their f a m i l i e s do s u f f e r from i n t e r n a l stress, which i s aggravated by the struggle to regain t h e i r former status and by t h e i r language d i f f i c u l t i e s . Page - 59 While "Sponsored" refugees form the bulk of La t i n American refugees i n Canada a s i g n i f i c a n t number of "Refugee Claimants" are also present. Of the 5192 adult refugee claimants i n B.C. only 3308 work permits have been issued ( A p r i l 1989). Most females within couples have not been issued work permits unless they are the major breadwinner within the family. This has led to problems, as many jobs are availa b l e f o r the women, whereas few e x i s t f o r the men. Family stress occurs because of t h i s , and also occurs as t h e i r c h i l d r e n enter school, and i n comparison with t h e i r parents, soon become conversant i n the English language. This makes the parents dependent on the children as interpreters and negotiators, creating a balance contrary to the norm i n Latin-American society. Our d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l mores also put a s t r a i n on family re l a t i o n s h i p s . Family breakups are common among Latins and they w i l l no longer cohabit but stay together " f o r show". The women are now i n double jeopardy— no independent work permit, and fear of deportation, i f they leave t h e i r husband, on whose behalf the determination process w i l l be conducted. This pr a c t i c e seems archaic i n view of the norms of modern Canadian society. Refugee children, many who came to Canada i n t h e i r teens, have not f i t t e d i n well. They have not succeeded i n school, and have a high dropout rate. Because they have not graduated and are often unemployed or Page - 60 unemployable, they tend to hang around shopping malls and get into petty scrapes with the law. Many have joined gangs such as Los Diablos and have become involved i n petty crime rings dealing i n stolen property, p r o s t i t u t i o n and drugs. William Smiley claims that discrimination against Latins by the l o c a l non-Latin population has led many L a t i n youths to r e j e c t t h e i r c u l t u r a l i d e n t i t y . This r e j e c t i o n has resulted i n L a t i n youth adopting a defiant attitude to society. ...a defiant attitude towards society as manifested by the gang members who j o i n together to reinforce t h e i r i d e n t i t y and support one another i n what they perceive as a h o s t i l e , closed society....access to power, status and money are gained through gang membership and a c t i v i t y . For some, i t i s an alt e r n a t i v e to welfare. (Smiley, 1989) Nona Thompson, from Stepup, a s p e c i a l school under the Vancouver School Board for students i n c o n f l i c t with the law, noted, at a recent t a l k she gave on gangs, that Los Diablos was composed of approximately 30 gang members, plus many "wannabe's"—youths who t r y to emulate gang members. These youths are caught up i n the "glamour of the gang" because of the rewards that associate membership bestows on them—"notoriety, g i r l s , drugs and money". Thompson went on to say that i t i s the "wannabe's" who perpetuate most of the crimes blamed on gangs, and that they are only loosely directed by the actual gang members. They are used because usually they are juveniles, and thus dealt with r e l a t i v e l y l i g h t l y by Page - 61 the courts. At the same conference, Wayne (name withheld f o r security reasons) of the Vancouver Organized Crime Squad confirmed Thompson's assessment of Vancouver La t i n American youth i n l o c a l crime. The singl e males examined i n t h i s study are often included (by the public) with t h i s group, but i n f a c t they are not often gang members, being older and generally of a d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l c l a s s . Page - 62 Chapter s i x Research Methodology Canada i s s t i l l seen by many as p i r i n g refugees as the land of hope. I f we as Canadians are unable to cope with the current i n f l u x , how are we going to deal with the larger numbers that w i l l seek our shores as the world population continues to escalate? Our current p o l i c i e s are already overwhelmed. In 1989 the backlog f o r processing refugee claimants i n Canada was estimated at 120,000. Today t h i s number has not been s u b s t a n t i a l l y reduced, but has been added to by a new i n f l u x of applicants that have arrived under the new streamlined program. This added number has been estimated at approximately 40,000 and i s being added to by about 3000 per month. (Vancouver Sun, 14 Feb. 1991, Joan Bryden, Southam News) By choosing to study the problems experienced by a small but growing source of refugee claimants, I hope to be able to underline the major problems faced by a l l refugee claimants as they attempt to r e b u i l d t h e i r l i v e s i n Canada. I f e l t that by concentrating on a few subjects and doing an i n depth study I would gain a greater i n s i g h t into the target group. The survey was therefore extensive i n terms of the range of questions and the time taken to complete. A l l the questionnaires were only completed Page - 63 a f t e r a lengthy interview. I f e l t that t h i s would, fo r the purposes of a general survey, give me s u f f i c i e n t data to obtain a p r o f i l e of the male refugee claimant. In f a c t , t h i r t e e n subjects were interviewed, i n order to obtain at l e a s t one subject who could c l e a r l y be seen as an economic refugee. Twelve subjects was determined to be the minimum number required. This represented 10% of the sing l e male Central Americans l i v i n g i n the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. P r i o r to the planning of the questionaire I interviewed personel from the various agencies that come i n contact with the refugee claimants. These interviews included people from Employment and Immigration Canada, l e g a l Services, the O f f i c e of the Secretary of State, the Canadian Council f o r Refugees (Vancouver), Human Rights groups, Oxfam, Amnesty International, human r i g h t s lawyers, s o c i a l workers, refugees, ESL i n s t r u c t o r s and Vancouver School Board personel. (a f u l l l i s t i s given i n the Acknowledgements) I also attended a number of conferences that focused on Central American refugees. These included the "Human Rights and the Disappeared" at Simon Fraser University (SFU) i n A p r i l 1989, the L a t i n American Youth Symposium at the B r i t a n i a Centre i n July 1989, the Canada and the Organization of American States at SFU (Harbour Centre) i n March 1990, and the Eployment and Immigration services, the Back;og Clearance Process at MOSAIC i n may 1989. Page - 64 A f t e r extensive interviews and discussions with those who reg u l a r l y come i n contact with these refugees, and my own personal observations as a volunteer ESL teacher at the Carnegie Centre i n the downtown eastside of Vancouver, i t was determined that the best approach would be to make the interviews broad-based. This would put i n perspective the areas most relevant to the research. As well, personnel both at the Downtown Eastside Youth Project and at MOSAIC suggested some addit i o n a l questions that would, on publication, be of value to t h e i r work i n the f i e l d . Not only would the survey be of assistance to the two organizations involved with Central American refugee claimants but would,I hoped, be of benefit to the refugee claimants. I f e e l that by h i g h l i g h t i n g the ineq u i t i e s and inadequacies of the present p o l i c y that t h i s w i l l a l t e r p o l i c y and be of benefit to the claimants i n t h e i r need to assimilate and acculturate into the Canadian mili e u . I was asked by Pablo Bazarque of D.E.Y.A.S. to enquire into t h e i r abuse of drugs and alcohol, and t h e i r relationships with women. This information proved useful i n estab l i s h i n g a more complete p r o f i l e of the claimants and how they spent t h e i r time and money. I t also highlighted the major areas of concern for the various agencies that deal with them on an ongoing basis. He also asked that some idea of the rela t i o n s h i p s i n t h e i r home background be explored to discover i f alcohol had been a problem i n t h e i r homes. Page - 65 R o g e r B a r a n y , f r o m M o s a i c , a s k e d me t o e n q u i r e a s t o w h i c h a r e a s o f t h e c i t y t h o s e q u e s t i o n e d r e s i d e d . B e c a u s e i n f o r m a t i o n was b e i n g g a t h e r e d f o r o t h e r a g e n c i e s t h e c o n f i d e n t i a l i t y o f t h e c l i e n t s was p a r a m o u n t . T h i s r a i s e d a n e t h i c s i s s u e . I f e l t t h e i n f o r m a t i o n g a i n e d w o u l d be o f a s s i s t a n c e i n t h e a l l o c a t i o n o f r e s o u r c e s t o b e s t s e r v e t h e c l i e n t s and w o u l d t h e r e f o r e a b r i g a t e any p o s s i b l e c o n f l i c t o f e t h i c s . The i n c l u s i o n o f q u e s t i o n s f r o m o t h e r s o u r c e s , w o u l d i n a l e s s b r o a d b a s e d s u r v e y , h a v e c o m p r i m i s e d t h e r e s e a r c h e r , however t h e i n f o r m a t i o n r e q u e s t e d f e l l w i t h i n t h e s c o p e o f t h e r e s e a r c h a n d s u p p l i e d i n f o r m a t i o n o f v a l u e i n t h e f i n a l a n a l y s i s . C o n f i d e n t i a l i t y was e n s u r e d by my n o t e n q u i r i n g o f t h e i n t e r v i e w e e s surname, a d d r e s s o r e m p l o y e r . E a c h i n t e r v i e w e e was g i v e n a number and no r e c o r d o f f i r s t name was made o r m a i n t a i n e d . A c c o r d i n g l y , t h e q u e s t i o n n a i r e was d e s i g n e d t o i n c l u d e t h e i r a r e a s o f c o n c e r n , a s w e l l a s my own.In a d d i t i o n , v a r i a b l e s w h i c h h a d b e e n s t u d i e d i n s i m i l a r r e s e a r c h c o n d u c t e d among r e f u g e e c l a i m a n t s i n F l o r i d a were i n c l u d e d i n t h e s t u d y . The i d e a b e h i n d t h i s was t o s e e i f t h e g e n e r a l p r o f i l e i n b o t h c a s e s m a t c h e d , i n h o p e s o f f i n d i n g g e n e r a l i z a t i o n s i n t h e t y p i c a l p r o f i l e o f s i n g l e m a l e L a t i n A m e r i c a n r e f u g e e s . I n o r d e r t o a l l e v i a t e any a n x i e t y on t h e p a r t o f t h e i n t e r v i e w e e , I t r i e d , i n most c a s e s , t o g e t P a b l o B a z a r q u e o f D.E.Y.A.S. t o i n t r o d u c e me t o them o r a t Page - 66 l e a s t to accompany me to Oppenheimer Park and introduce me to the group who might become p o t e n t i a l interviewees. Pablo accompanied me to the park on s i x of the ten occasions during which interviews took place. My being introduced by Pablo ensured that the prospective subject would know I was not from Immigration Canada or any other o f f i c i a l agency. The questionnaire was designed to be used i n a one-on-one interview s i t u a t i o n . I wished to create a questionnaire that would take about one hour to administer, and that could be answered with as l i t t l e e f f o r t and as l i t t l e command of English as possible. The questionnaire was divided into s i x sections as follows: 1. Individual background c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s 2. A r r i v a l and early experiences 3. Educational and rel a t e d data 4. Occupation and employment record, both i n country of o r i g i n , and i n Canada 5. Economic h i s t o r y i n Canada 6. B e l i e f s and Orientation Because of the se n s i t i v e nature of some of the questions, I was prepared to accept a r e f u s a l to answer, and informed a l l the subjects that they could decline to answer questions that they thought were not v a l i d . Section 1, dealing with i n d i v i d u a l backgrounds, required answers to questions such as: where do you come from? where i s that? how big i s the town/village that Page - 67 y o u l i v e d i n ? what d i d / d o e s y o u r f a t h e r do? T h e s e q u e s t i o n s a r e g e n e r a l l y n o n t h r e a t e n i n g a n d a l l o w t h e s u b j e c t s t o answer i n s i m p l e o n e - o r two-word a n s w e r s . I f e l t i t i m p o r t a n t t o l e a d up t o more s e n s i t i v e q u e s t i o n s i n t h i s s e c t i o n s u c h a s : why d i d y o u l e a v e ? , s l o w l y s o t h a t t h e s u b j e c t s w o u l d be r e l a x e d when a n s w e r i n g s u c h c o m p l e x q u e s t i o n s . H a v i n g a s k e d t h i s q u e s t i o n , I i m m e d i a t e l y r e t u r n e d t o s a f e r g r o u n d by t a l k i n g a n d a s k i n g q u e s t i o n s a b o u t t h e i r j o u r n e y f r o m h o m e l a n d t o C a n ada. S e c t i o n 2 i n c l u d e d m a i n l y f a c t u a l q u e s t i o n s , t h a t a g a i n r e q u i r e d s i m p l e a n s w e r s . I i n c l u d e d d a t e s i n my q u e s t i o n s , a s I remembered f r o m my s t a y i n M e x i c o t h a t " L a t i n s " a r e v e r y i n t e r e s t e d i n d a t e s a n d i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y w o u l d remember t h e i m p o r t a n t d a t e s . T h i s a s s u m p t i o n p r o v e d c o r r e c t , a s most s u b j e c t s c o u l d t e l l me t o t h e d a y when s p e c i f i c e v e n t s t o o k p l a c e . T h i s s e c t i o n a l s o h a d some s e n s i t i v e q u e s t i o n s , a n d t h e s e were o r g a n i z e d s o t h a t t h e y g e n e r a l l y r e q u i r e d e i t h e r a y e s o r no a n swer. F o r example, when a s k i n g a b o u t t h e i r p r i n c i p a l p r o b l e m s i n Canada, I w o u l d g i v e them a number o f c h o i c e s , s u c h a s l a n g u a g e , e c o n o m i c , f a m i l y / c u l t u r a l a d a p t a t i o n ( f i t t i n g i n / s e n s e o f b e l o n g ) , i m m i g r a t i o n s t a t u s , i n a b i l i t y t o work, an d o t h e r . T h o s e who h a d o t h e r p r o b l e m s were t h u s o f f e r e d t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o m e n t i o n them, an d f e l t l e s s s e l f c o n s c i o u s , h a v i n g r e v i e w e d o t h e r p r o b l e m s t h a t t h e y m i g h t h a v e f a c e d . Page - 68 Section 3, a f t e r the i n i t i a l question of educational l e v e l acquired i n t h e i r homelands, generally employed a s l i d i n g scale. For example, the question regarding knowledge of English employed a scale ranging from "none" to "fluent", while newspaper readership ranged from " d a i l y " to "almost never". Section 4 was kept short as i t dealt with employment, both i n the country of o r i g i n and i n Canada. This section, I f e l t , might be more d i f f i c u l t to administer because of language problems, and so I attempted to derive the maximum of information with the minimum of questions. Section 5, on t h e i r current f i n a n c i a l status, was set up to be as simple as possible with only short answers required. Section 6 was mainly composed of s l i d i n g scale answers l i k e Section 4, that could be check e a s i l y as I talked with the subjects. As mentioned e a r l i e r , questions germaine to the study were buried within the questionnaire. The questions that I was most anxious to obtain answers to were those on t h e i r educational status i n t h e i r countries of o r i g i n , as well as whether they had managed to obtain any education i n Canada. I also wanted to determine t h e i r l e v e l of English competence and how they had acquired i t , i f they had not had ESL classes. The questions on newspaper reading, radio l i s t e n i n g and TV Page - 69 watching were designed to extract t h i s information. Other guestions that might help determine t h i s were those regarding the e t h n i c i t y of the area that they l i v e d i n and t h e i r r e l a t i o n s with non-Latin Americans i n Canada. Once the questionnaire was designed, i t was presented to the interested p a r t i e s at the Downtown Eastside Youth Project (D.E.Y.A.S.) and at MOSAIC fo r comment. After review, a few items were added, and some of the e x i s t i n g questions were amended so as to focus on the p a r t i c u l a r aspects under study and so as not to cause undue anxiety i n the subjects. Upon r e v i s i o n and acceptance of the questionnaire's design, i t was determined, with the a i d of the s o c i a l worker f o r L a t i n American refugees at the D.E.Y.A.S. (Pablo Bazarque), to carry out the interviews over the summer of 1990 at Oppenheimer Park. This park i s used most days by the refugees, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the afternoon. They play soccer or s o f t b a l l as well as hanging out and meeting friends. P r i o r to s t a r t i n g the interviews, I v i s i t e d the park with Pablo Bazarque from the D.E.Y.A.S. to be introduced to some of the refugee claimants. I spent my f i r s t few meetings j u s t chatting generally and getting to know a few of the more verbal and relaxed members of the group. I began the interviews i n l a t e June and v i s i t e d the park each Wednesday, except "Welfare Wednesday" (the l a s t Wednesday of each month—the day welfare cheques were Page - 70 d i s t r i b u t e d ) , and attempted to interview at l e a s t one subject and sometimes two per week. "Welfare Wednesday", i t was pointed out by Pablo, would not be a good day, as t h i s was the day that welfare cheques were issued, and many of the subjects would have already spent some of t h e i r cheques on alcohol and would be d i f f i c u l t to interview. Interviews continued through July and into August before I had obtained a l l t h i r t e e n . Delays were unavoidable what with "Welfare Wednesday", the "cruise ship scam", interference from the c i t y p o l i c e and a personal a l t e r c a t i o n between myself and one of the subjects, (for further d e t a i l s see observations at the end of t h i s chapter) Many of the subjects were very apprehensive about being interviewed. I found the best approach was to set up each interview the week before. I found that by s e t t i n g up appointments with more subjects than I r e a l l y needed, I would usually get one or two to return to be interviewed. The subjects'apprehension i s understandable. When one considers the repressive circumstances from which they have escaped, and the hardships and questioning they have had to endure from border patrols, p o l i c e o f f i c e r s , and Immigration o f f i c e r s during t h e i r journey to Canada and t h e i r subsequent dealings with Employment and Immigration Page - 71 Canada and welfare personnel, i t i s amazing that they are as forthcoming as they are. When conducting interviews, I would s i t with each subject and t a l k f o r about ten minutes about the interview procedure, explaining why I was doing the research. I emphasized the p o s i t i v e r e s u l t s possible from such research, and pointed out that i f my findings were taken s e r i o u s l y by the government agencies involved, they might benefit i n the long run. Our conversation would be conducted i n English with some "pidgen" Spanish, as my Spanish i s l i m i t e d . (Though I understand more than I can speak—I spent one and a half years i n Mexico as a c r u i s i n g s a i l o r and did pick up some workable Spanish). A f t e r I f e l t that the subject was at ease, I would begin the actual survey. I never wrote down the subjects' names, but numbered them one to t h i r t e e n . Because there were only 13 subjects i t was easy to keep track of those I had previously interviewed so that no duplication occured. Each survey took over an hour. Some of the interviews were even longer, e s p e c i a l l y i f a subject spoke poor English. In many cases, a f r i e n d , who spoke better English, would be asked to a s s i s t as an int e r p r e t e r . I c a r r i e d a Spanish/English d i c t i o n a r y with me and i t was often used. I found that I got the best r e s u l t s i f I explained why I needed the answer to each question. Page - 72 Once t h e s u b j e c t h a d r e l a x e d a n d t h e s u r v e y h a d begun, i n most c a s e s he was w i l l i n g t o r e s p o n d t o t h e q u e s t i o n s . I n some c a s e s t h i s d i d n o t happen a n d t h e n t h e s u r v e y was n o t c o m p l e t e d . S u c h s u r v e y s were t o r n up a n d d i s p o s e d o f i n f r o n t o f t h e s u b j e c t i n v o l v e d . S u b j e c t s were c h o s e n more b y t h e i r w i l l i n g n e s s t o p a r t i c i p a t e t h a n by any random method. Any randomness l a y i n t h e i r b e i n g a v a i l a b l e a n d w i l l i n g on t h e d a y a n d t i m e t h a t I was t h e r e . T h i s s t u d y was n o t i n t e n d e d t o be a s t a t i s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t s u r v e y o f t h e p o p u l a t i o n u n d e r s t u d y b u t r a t h e r a s u r v e y i n t e n d e d t o p r o v i d e an i n d e p t h p o r t r a y a l o f t h e i r l i v e s p r i o r t o m i g r a t i o n , d u r i n g m i g r a t i o n a n d t h e i r new l i v e s i n V a n c o u v e r . The s t u d y was f u r t h e r i n t e n d e d t o d i s c o v e r t h e f a c i l i t i e s a v a i l a b l e t o them a n d w h e t h e r t h e y were a d e q u a t e t o t h e i r n e e d s . O t h e r a r e a s t h a t i t was i n t e n d e d t o e x p l o r e was how t h e y were c o p i n g w i t h t h e C a n a d i a n c u l t u r e and how t h e y p e r c e i v e d t h e i r t r e a t m e n t b y t h e p u b l i c a t l a r g e and t h e i n s t i t u t i o n s a n d a g e n c i e s t h a t t h e y d e a l t w i t h . O b s e r v a t i o n s I t s h o u l d be n o t e d t h a t some d i f f i c u l t i e s a r o s e d u r i n g t h e c o n d u c t i n g o f t h e s e i n t e r v i e w s t h a t , w h i l e n o t r e l e v a n t t o t h e s t u d y , h i g h l i g h t some o f t h e p r o b l e m s o t h e r s s h o u l d be aware o f i f t h e y a t t e m p t t o c o n d u c t s u r v e y s w i t h t h i s t y p e o f g r o u p . Page - 73 The " c r u i s e s h i p scam", r e s u l t e d f r o m t h e d i s c o v e r y by some o f t h e s u b j e c t s t h a t a l c o h o l c o u l d be p u r c h a s e d f r o m c r u i s e s h i p p a s s e n g e r s a t a b o u t h a l f t h e r e t a i l p r i c e . D u t y - f r e e l i q u o r was b e i n g t a k e n o f f t h e s h i p s b y p a s s e n g e r s , a t t h e u r g i n g o f some cre w members who t h e n c o l l e c t e d t h e l i q u o r o f f them and s o l d i t a t w e l l b e l o w l i q u o r s t o r e p r i c e s . The c r u i s e s h i p e m p l o y e e s were s e l l i n g t h e l i q u o r t o r e f u g e e c l a i m a n t s a n d o t h e r r e s i d e n t s o f t h e downtown e a s t s i d e , who were o n l y t o o e a g e r t o s a v e money. P o l i c e h a r a s s m e n t was a n o t h e r o n g o i n g p r o b l e m d u r i n g t h e s t u d y . F o r Example, on one o c c a s i o n , s o o n a f t e r I h a d a r r i v e d a t t h e p a r k and h a d begun t o t a l k w i t h some o f t h e r e f u g e e s (a number o f whom I h a d i n t e r v i e w e d a l r e a d y ) , t h r e e s q u a d c a r s a r r i v e d a n d f i v e p o l i c e o f f i c e r s a p p r o a c h e d t h e g r o u p . The g r o u p , p r i o r t o my a r r i v a l , h a d b e e n l i s t e n i n g t o "KISS FM" (a r o c k m u s i c s t a t i o n ) on a " g h e t t o b l a s t e r " (a l a r g e p o r t a b l e s t e r e o ) . The p o l i c e t o l d them t o t u r n t h e r a d i o down. The g r o u p d i d s o , a n d a s k e d why. T h e y were i n f o r m e d t h a t a c o m p l a i n t h a d b e e n f i l e d a b o u t t h e n o i s e . When t h e g r o u p p r o t e s t e d , t h e p o l i c e b e g an p i c k i n g o u t i n d i v i d u a l s a n d r o u g h i n g them up. The more t h i s h a p p e n e d , t h e more v i o l e n t l y t h e r e f u g e e s p r o t e s t e d . The p o l i c e ( d e l i b e r a t e l y , i n my o p i n i o n ) , a l l o w e d t h e w h o l e i n c i d e n t t o e s c a l a t e , a n d s o o n a number o f t h e r e f u g e e s h a d b l e e d i n g n o s e s an d s p l i t l i p s . T h i s went on f o r some Page - 74 t i m e , u n t i l a s i x t h p o l i c e o f f i c e r a r r i v e d a n d t o l d t h e o t h e r s t o l e a v e ( a s a m a t t e r o f i n c i d e n t a l i n t e r e s t , t h e o f f i c e r s who d i d most o f t h e r o u g h i n g up were i n p l a i n c l o t h e s ) . A l t h o u g h I was p r e s e n t a n d q u i t e o b v i o u s , I was t o t a l l y i g n o r e d by t h e p o l i c e t h r o u g h o u t t h e w h o l e i n c i d e n t . B e c a u s e I was i g n o r e d t h i s m i g h t h a v e s t r e n g t h e n e d t h e b e l i e f among some o f t h e c l a i m a n t s t h a t I m i g h t be c o n n e c t e d w i t h a n o f f i c i a l body a n d n o t who I c l a i m e d t o be. T h i s m i g h t h a v e b e e n why t h e r e was m i s t r u s t a n d h o s t i l i t y o n my n e x t v i s i t . A f t e r t h e c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h t h e p o t e n t i a l i n t e r v i e w e e I h a d t o g e t P a b l o t o r e - i n t r o d u c e me b e f o r e I was a b l e t o p r o c e e d w i t h my s u r v e y . One week l a t e r , w h i l e I was a t t e m p t i n g t o i n t e r v i e w one o f t h e s u b j e c t s , he t o o k . e x c e p t i o n t o my p r e s e n c e a n d p r o c e e d e d t o s t r i k e me w i t h h i s f i s t s . H i s f r i e n d s a l l r u s h e d up a n d d r a g g e d us a p a r t , a n d he f l e d . The o t h e r s e x p l a i n e d t h a t he h a d b e e n d r i n k i n g , h a v i n g h a d a h a r d t i m e w i t h h i s d e t e r m i n a t i o n b o a r d h e a r i n g t h a t m o r n i n g . He a p p a r e n t l y t h o u g h t I was i n v o l v e d w i t h I m m i g r a t i o n , b e c a u s e I was a l w a y s a r o u n d a s k i n g q u e s t i o n s . Page - 75 Chapter Seven Analysis of Data Section 1. Background Based on the data obtained from the t h i r t e e n subjects i t can be extrapolated that the majority of si n g l e male La t i n American refugee claimants come from medium-sized towns or c i t i e s with a mean population of approximately 50,000. The subjects were s p l i t nearly evenly into those with r u r a l backgrounds (6) and those with urban backgrounds (7). Family backgrounds indicate that these men are from working c l a s s families which would not be regarded as poor within t h e i r communities. Of the t h i r t e e n subjects' parents 7 education (two fathers' educations were unknown) the fathers' mean was 3.8 years of school. Four of the fathers had no formal education at a l l . On discounting these, the mean of the remainder was 7 years. Considering the age of t h e i r fathers, (mean = 64.5 years), t h i s educational l e v e l i s high, taking into account the schooling opportunities available i n Central America f i f t y years ago. The mothers' mean was 3.5 years of school including s i x with no formal schooling. Given the general attitude to womens education f i f t y years ago i n Central America ( s t i l l prevalent today i n r u r a l areas) t h i s i s a respectable average. Page - 76 Five of my subjects were s t i l l students at college when they f l e d . Of the remaining eight a l l but one had eith e r followed i n t h e i r fathers' footsteps or had entered trades or professions. One of the young men d i d not f i t t h i s pattern, as he had been employed as a "mule" ( c a r r i e r of i l l e g a l drugs across the U.S./Mexican border). This subject was included as an example of a so-c a l l e d " economic refugee" -one who d i d not f l e e because of persecution. A family p r o f i l e i s d i f f i c u l t to obtain. I can say that a l l the subjects seem to have had reasonably successful upbringings and have inherited the work ethics of t h e i r parents. Five subjects are from i n t a c t homes, f i v e are from sing l e parent homes (mothers), two subjects were brought up by other r e l a t i v e s and one subject by h i s father and stepmother. Family s i z e varied sharply between r u r a l and urban dwellers. Subjects from r u r a l f a m i l i e s had an average of 8.67 s i b l i n g s while urban subjects had an average of only 2.7 s i b l i n g s . Only two subjects were married. Both currently send money to support t h e i r wives, and hope that the wives can come up and j o i n them soon. The average age of departure from the country of o r i g i n was 25.3 years. However, the majority were between 21 and 23 years of age when they l e f t . Two subjects were Page - 77 considerably older, and only l e f t due to severe persecution and fear f o r t h e i r safety. The subjects d i d not a l l leave at the same time. Two came p r i o r to 1982 with the r e s t coming up during the period 1985 to 1989. The reasons f o r the departure vary and are as follows: Student a c t i v i s t 3 P o l i t i c a l a c t i v i s t 2 Personal death threats 2 Violent death of r e l a t i v e s 2 Avoidance of d r a f t 2 Army deserter 1 Fleeing criminal prosecution 1 (Mexican) 13 Both the students and p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i s t s a c t i v e l y opposed t h e i r countries' governments, and may have a hard time proving t h e i r claims as refugees unless they have been s p e c i f i c a l l y targeted by the p o l i c e or government as enemies of the state. Those who received death threats, or whose fam i l i e s have experienced a serie s of p o l i t i c a l murders, w i l l , i f they can substantiate them, be able to claim asylum under the U.N. Convention. Those avoiding the d r a f t w i l l receive very l i t t l e sympathy. The army deserter's fate could go eithe r way. He claims to have been a member of a "death squad" and, as such, that he executed and disposed of a number of c i v i l i a n s before being i n a p o s i t i o n to f l e e . A case l a s t year i n Montreal dealing with a known member of a "death squad" resulted i n the refugee claimant being granted asylum. (Lawsuit r e s u l t i n g from a RDB hearing at which Stewart Istvanffy Page - 78 represented a Mexican s o l d i e r , V.Cruz, who k i l l e d c i v i l i a n s under orders. Stewart Istvanffy spoke at the Conference of Human Rights and the Disappeared held at SFU i n A p r i l 1989) The Mexican w i l l , I suspect, be returned to Mexico to face criminal charges. Not being a member of a refugee determination board (RDB), I cannot make any r e a l judgment i n the cases of the subjects I interviewed, but i t would appear to me, having studied the mandate of the RDB's, that a l l but the Mexican deserve consideration, and that of the remaining twelve only three are i n serious doubt; the d r a f t dodgers and the army deserter. The d r a f t dodgers deserve consideration i n the l i g h t of our treatment of U.S. d r a f t dodgers during the Vietnam War. The army deserter should be judged with the previous case i n mind. Eight of the t h i r t e e n refugee claimants that I interviewed used the bus system to t r a v e l , not only through Central America, but also north across the United States. Two of the subjects hitch-hiked, and used buses only a f t e r they had found work enroute, and could a f f o r d to do so. One subject t r a v e l l e d by r a i l , while another drove up i n h i s own car. The l a s t subject walked the e n t i r e t r i p from Mosote i n E l Salvador to Brownsville i n Texas. From Brownsville, he was transported by various means by members of the "sanctuary movement" to the Canadian border. Two other subjects were also helped by the "sanctuary movement". The "sanctuary movement" i s an Page - 79 underground organisation established by various churches within the United States and Canada that a s s i s t refugees i n gaining access to both the U.S. and Canada. Only two subjects t r a v e l l e d d i r e c t l y to Canada. Of the others, four spent time i n both Mexico and the United States before coming to Canada. The remainder spent time i n the United States. Most of them found jobs along the way to support themselves. The average length of the journey from home to Canada was t h i r t y - t h r e e months. I f one does not include the two d i r e c t t r a v e l l e r s , the average length of the journey was j u s t over t h i r t y - e i g h t months. This i s j u s t over three years. Figures supplied by refugee agencies had suggested a figure of between two and three years was average. (Mosaic - Roger Barany) Section 2. A r r i v a l and early years Five subjects entered Canada i n Ontario, and unlike those who entered i n B r i t i s h Columbia, were offered ESL t r a i n i n g , at the same time as being e l e g i b l e f o r welfare. The eight subjects who entered i n B r i t i s h Columbia were, with one noticable exceptions, e l e g i b l e f o r welfare within three months but were not e l e g i b l e f o r ESL t r a i n i n g . A l l subjects were granted work permits i n January of 1989. The status given the refugee claimants d i f f e r e d as follows: Refugee claimant 9 Page - 80 M i n i s t e r i a l permit 1 Refugee status 1 Permanent residents v i s a 1 V i s i t o r s permit (lyr.) 1 ( l a t e r granted refugee claimant status) Although a l l subjects were contacted and interviewed i n Oppenheimer Park, only seven l i v e d i n the immediate area. The others were from the two other areas of Vancouver, where there i s a concentration of Latins, Broadway between Fraser and Main Streets, and Broadway and Commercial. On average, each subject had moved 3.2 times while i n Vancouver. The most common reason was to move to a better and more suitable place. The e t h n i c i t y of the neighbourhood chosen was predominantly one i n which there are many other Latins, both refugee claimants and immigrants. Some of the refugees had r e l a t i v e s already i n Canada on a r r i v a l , but only one of the subjects received help from a r e l a t i v e , and that was only f o r a period of one month. Most subjects claimed that they received the most help on a r r i v a l from government agencies (Health and Welfare Canada). Two received help from friends while a further two received help from church organizations ( i n both cases an extension of the "sanctuary movement"). Seven subjects noted language as t h e i r major problem. Five subjects noted economic d i f f i c u l t i e s . Other areas of d i f f i c u l t y experienced by the subjects are as follows: Page - 81 Family/Cultural Adaptation I n a b i l i t y to f i n d work Concern over status P o l i c e harassment Misses family 2 3 4 1 1 1 One subject was very r e s e n t f u l of the f a c t that he was treated as a refugee claimant and ju s t wanted to get on with h i s l i f e . In h i s home country, he had held a senior professional p o s i t i o n , as a p o l i c e detective and he had expected to be welcomed with open arms because of h i s s k i l l s and q u a l i f i c a t i o n s . Section 3. Education and rel a t e d areas The refugee claimants interviewed had, apart from two, attended some secondary school. Three had completed high school, and these three had also completed post-secondary courses. Of the remainder, eight were attending or had attended post-secondary i n s t i t u t i o n s that d i d not require high school graduation. The two subjects who had not attended secondary school at a l l had completed Grade three and Grade s i x . Both these subjects were from very small v i l l a g e s and each worked on the family farm. This lack of secondary education, among farm children, i s not uncommon i n Central American countries, and the tendency for farming children to attend only primary or elementary school was observed by the writer i n Mexico during 1986 and 1987. Page - 82 Education i n Vancouver, f o r the subjects of the survey, has been very l i m i t e d . The f i v e subjects who entered Canada i n Ontario were a l l offered s i x months of ESL classes. These classes were free and the refugees were encouraged to attend. They a l l took advantage of the opportunity f o r at l e a s t a while. The r e s t of the subjects have had l i t t l e or no ESL classes. ESL classes that some have attended have been held on a ad-hoc basis at churches and the Carnegie Centre i n the downtown eastside. Practice has been fo r the l o c a l community stree t worker to s o l i c i t volunteers, who o f f e r classes one night a week during the winter. These classes have been of a drop-in nature, and so the teaching has been fragmented and dependent on which groups of students turned up. The subjects, because of t h e i r status, are not e l i g i b l e f o r ESL classes unless they can pay f o r them. For most, t h i s i s well beyond t h e i r f i n a n c i a l resources. In Vancouver, even i f the subjects have the money to attend, there i s a long waiting l i s t (six months or more). The classes are held e i t h e r a l l day or every evening, and f o r many, e s p e c i a l l y those working or looking f o r work, the length of the term i s daunting. ESL courses are held at MOSAIC but these, too, are over-subscribed. On questioning the subjects, i t was found that seven f e l t that t h e i r English was moderate and three claimed to Page - 83 be f l u e n t . The remaining three scored t h e i r English at minimal. From my own observations, I would allow two to claim between "moderate competence and fluency" i n English, with the r e s t somewhat below "moderate", except two whom I would place at a "minimal" l e v e l . These l a s t two were only j u s t able to make themselves understood at a very basic l e v e l , and did not have enough language to obtain jobs or to communicate except i n monosyllables. In both these cases, I had to use an interpreter and a Spanish/English dictionary when a l l else f a i l e d . My Spanish I would rate at "minimal". The subjects' knowledge of Canada ranged from almost none to extensive. The three subjects with "extensive" knowledge were the three college graduates, and on questioning, I found that they did, i n f a c t , have a very good grasp of Canadian h i s t o r y and geography, as well as the current s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l structures and p o l i t i t i a n s . Those with "moderate" and "some" knowledge were reasonably well informed and knew the current premier and prime minister as well as the provinces and c a p i t a l s . They knew where V i c t o r i a , Prince George and Kamloops were, and how to get there by road. A l l the subjects except two read the l o c a l newspaper (both the Sun and the Province were read). Four subjects read the paper every day, while f i v e others read the paper more than once a week. Six subjects read i n English only and one read i n Spanish only. The remaining four Page - 84 readers read i n both Spanish and English. Spanish newspapers were obtainable at stores on Commercial Drive or at "La Quena". Nine subjects l i s t e n e d to the radio on a regular basis (CBC and KISS F.M.). Two subjects also l i s t e n e d to the Spanish broadcasts on Co-op Radio and the CBC. Te l e v i s i o n was favoured by a l l the subjects, except one who never watched. Eleven watched re g u l a r l y . Only the regular North American programs were watched. None watched the Spanish program on Saturday mornings on Community TV. Section 4. Occupation and Employment P r i o r to a r r i v a l i n Canada A l l t h i r t e e n subjects had some work experience before leaving t h e i r home country, including the f i v e subjects who were students. One of the subjects had held two concurrent jobs due to the seasonal nature of h i s primary occupation. He was both a farmer and a brickmaker. Three subjects have worked at t h e i r respective occupations f o r more than ten years p r i o r to moving. The others had worked, on average, between two and s i x years, except f o r two of the students who had only worked f o r s i x months and one year respectively. The breakdown of t h e i r occupational a c t i v i t i e s can be organized as follows: Page - 85 Students Farmers 5 1 1/2 1 1/2 Trades/Labourers C i v i l servants Pro f/Manageria1 M i l i t a r y 1 3 1 Not counting the students, the t o t a l years of employment of the remainding eight subjects i s approximately f i f t y years, giving a mean of 6.25 years for the group. I f one includes the students, the mean i s 4.8 years. Considering the mean age of the group as 25.3 years, i t i s evident that these are people who have been active contributors within t h e i r countries' economies. Since a r r i v a l i n Canada Since coming to Canada, things have changed f o r them. Only f i v e have had the opportunity to be students, and then only f o r a short period of time. I t should be noted that only three took much advantage of t h i s opportunity. The remaining two f e l t that t h e i r English was adequate and that obtaining work was a higher p r i o r i t y . The average number of years of employment fo r the group since being i n Canada has been 0.9 years. Work has only been obtainable l e g a l l y since January 1989, but a number have been able to f i n d work "under the table" before that. Nevertheless, the average obtained i s i n sharp contrast to t h e i r work record i n t h e i r home country. I t should be noted that three subjects have had almost continuous employment since t h e i r a r r i v a l , and i t i s these subjects' Page - 86 work records that have raised the average. A l l three of these subjects were e l i g i b l e f o r ESL classes i n Ontario. Only two of the subjects have never been unemployed, and both of these had formal ESL classes. On the other hand, three subjects have never obtained employment since a r r i v a l i n Canada. One of these has been i n Canada f o r eight years, not being l e g a l l y allowed to seek employment u n t i l January 1989. This long wait has made him unemployable, as he no longer has any s k i l l s or work et h i c . The other two i n t h i s group are recent a r r i v a l s , and, i n my view, have not yet assimulated s u f f i c i e n t l y to be acceptable to employers. Subjects obtained t h e i r f i r s t jobs i n Canada through ei t h e r new friends i n the L a t i n American community or church organizations or through t h e i r own i n i t i a t i v e . Only one subject found h i s f i r s t job through Employment and Immigration Canada. The duration of these f i r s t jobs was a mean of 4.2 months (discounting the three subjects who never found employment). I t should be noted that during the interview period of over two months, only two of the subjects were a c t u a l l y employed. The r e s t were eithe r "between jobs', or waiting for seasonal farm work to begin. On the whole, the group interviewed has had a dismal employment record i n Canada that i s i n sharp contrast to t h e i r employment record p r i o r to leaving t h e i r countries of o r i g i n . Apart from the three subjects who have had Page - 87 almost continuous work, the r e s t have subsisted on welfare except for b r i e f s p e l l s of generally low-paying work. Two of the three continually employed subjects have not received welfare, while the t h i r d has only received welfare on a r r i v a l i n Canada, and while attending ESL classes. He was, at the time of the interview r e l o c a t i n g i n Vancouver from Fort St. John, and l i v i n g o f f h i s savings t i l l he found another job. Section 5. Economic Data Six of the subjects have been employed f o r more than 50% of t h e i r stay i n Canada and the mean income of these s i x was a monthly income of $1608.33, during the periods i n which they have been employed. Their pay ranged from $1000.00 to $2800.00 per month. Of these s i x , f i v e entered Canada i n Ontario, three of them a v a i l i n g themselves extensively of the free ESL classes offered (two had a reasonable grasp of English when they arrived, obtained employment shortly a f t e r a r r i v a l , and have been a c t i v e l y employed ever since) . Only one of the s i x , who have been consistently employed entered Canada at Vancouver. His English was r e l a t i v e l y f l u e nt when he arrived. The remaining seven entering Canada at Vancouver, ( a l l with marginal English) none of whom were offered the opportunity of free ESL classes, have been on welfare f o r the greater part of t h e i r stay. Four of them have found only occasional work. For the second seven, Page - 88 the mean monthly Income has been $486.00, t h e i r welfare cheque paid each month. Seven members of the group interviewed send money to t h e i r homeland each month; eithe r to wives (2) or other r e l a t i v e s (5). This remittance averages $220.00 per month with a range of $90.00 to $1000.00. The l i v i n g costs f o r the group were found to be as follows: Average Range Rent $275.00 $250 - 425.00 per month. Food $150.00 $120 - 300.00 per month. Amounts spent on clothing, entertainment and transportation were only obtained from a few subjects, most of whom were employed. Clothing f o r these subjects (sample of 4) averaged $100.00 a month with a range of $50 - $300.00. Transportation (only 2) averaged $25. Most subjects either obtained clot h i n g from r e l i e f organizations or purchased what they needed at "Value V i l l a g e " (a chain of large secondhand stores found i n the greater Vancouver area) or s i m i l a r second hand stores. Entertainment (including alcohol and tobacco) (sample of4) averaged $52.00 with a range of $20 - $200.00. I was unable to get a very s a t i s f a c t o r y ideas as to how much the subjects spent on entertainment. Most stated that they spent some money on alcohol and tobacco, but they were not able to say how much. During the interviews, i t became obvious that t h e i r major concerns on "Welfare Wednesday" were to pay rent, purchase food and send money Page - 89 home (where applicable) . Most of the res t was blown on binges. Anything remaining went on tobacco and/or the movies. Few, i f any, of the unemployed possessed any r e a l material possessions and those that they had were mainly obtained through street trading. Items such as stereos, watches, and TV's were much coveted, but only a v a i l a b l e to those who had been.succesful i n gaining employment. Section 6. Orientation and b e l i e f s R eligion cannot be said to play a major r o l e i n these peoples' l i v e s . Of the thirteen subjects, f i v e were Roman Catholics, two were of an unspecified C h r i s t i a n persuasion and one was an evangelical C h r i s t i a n . The remainder d i d not observe any f a i t h . Of the f i v e who went to church, one went d a i l y , three went weekly and one monthly. The remainder did not attend any church. Although a number of subjects had been assisted by church organizations, they f e l t no obliga t i o n to take part i n church functions except to get assistance with food (soup kitchens) or clo t h i n g needs. Twelve of the subjects expressed a strong desire to become Canadian c i t i z e n s , and only one was undecided. These same twelve claimed to be very s a t i s f i e d with l i f e i n Canada. The dissenter was only " s a t i s f i e d 1 1 with l i f e i n Canada, and expressed extreme impatience over the determination process. He was now unsure that coming to Canada had been the r i g h t move f o r him. This i n d i v i d u a l Page - 90 had never been out of work and had averaged over $2000.00 per month i n wages since a r r i v a l . He expressed the desire to be able to get on with h i s l i f e without the threat of having h i s claim found spurious by the RDB and being sent home. Most of the refugees (9) have had some i n t e r a c t i o n with the non-Latin Canadian population. Only four claimed to have had l i t t l e or no contact except at an o f f i c i a l l e v e l (contacts with Employment and Immigration Canada, Health and Welfare Canada and the p o l i c e ) . Seven subjects have experienced incidences of discrimination. Four of these had had "many" experiences. On the other hand, s i x subjects said that they had experienced no incidences of discrimination. Ten subjects claimed to have had some access to employment, of which three claimed to have had many of f e r s of employment. Only three subjects have been unable to f i n d any work at a l l . These three were mentioned e a r l i e r . On questioning these three, I was unable to get, from them, a s a t i s f a c t o r y answer as to why they have been unable to obtain work. In one case, I suspect a basic aversion to work. I base t h i s on h i s not having been able to work f o r s i x of the eight years he has been i n Canada. The other two are recent a r r i v a l s , and t h e i r l e v e l of English would, i n the current employment market, make them v i r t u a l l y unemployable. Page - 91 In general, relationships with landlords (a common problem i n the downtown eastside f o r most residents) were p o s i t i v e . I obtained only two negative responses and these, i t turned out, had been caused by misunderstandings with regard to r e n t a l due dates again, a language re l a t e d problem. Relationships with government o f f i c i a l s (Employment and Immigration Canada, and Health and Welfare Canada) were generally p o s i t i v e . Negative responses were based on suspected discrimination, but seemed on questioning, to be the r e s u l t of miscommunication due to language problems rather than discrimination. Relationships with the law (police or law courts) were divided. Five of the subjects f e l t negatively towards the law. These subjects had been arrested f o r a var i e t y of offences ranging from "drunk i n a public place" to "break and entry" and "theft over $500.00". I found the r e s u l t s of t h i s part of the survey surpr i s i n g , i n that more than h a l f (7) subjects f e l t p o s i t i v e towards the law. I myself witnessed one incident of p o l i c e b r u t a l i t y while conducting these interviews (see Methodology) and had been t o l d by the various s o c i a l workers who work with these people that p o l i c e harassment i s common. I can only conclude that t h i s type of harassment i s common i n La t i n /America and was not regarded as unusual, whereas harassment and arrest over Page - 92 d r u n k e n n e s s i s v e r y r a r e and s o c a u s e s r e s e n t m e n t when i t o c c u r s h e r e i n Canada. O n l y two s u b j e c t s e x p r e s s e d n e g a t i v e a t t i t u d e s t o r e l i e f a g e n c i e s s u c h a s t h e c h u r c h e s , community c e n t r e s o r t h e DEYAS c e n t r e . T h i s a n i m o s i t y a g a i n , stemmed f r o m a l a c k o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e a g e n c i e s r o l e , r a t h e r t h a n f r o m p e r c e i v e d d i s c r i m i n a t i o n . T h e m a j o r i t y o f t h e s u b j e c t s h a v e h a d p o s i t i v e e x p e r i e n c e s a t work s i n c e a r r i v a l , w i t h o n l y two n e g a t i v e r e p l i e s . T h e i r c o m p l a i n t s were b a s e d on s a l a r y d i s p u t e s . I n one c a s e , t h r o u g h a m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g w h i c h was s u b s e q u e n t l y r e c t i f i e d ( I i n s t r u c t e d t h e s u b j e c t on how t o i n s t i t u t e a n a p p e a l t h r o u g h t h e Employment S t a n d a r d s B r a n c h ) . I n t h e o t h e r c a s e , a s u b j e c t was u n d e r p a i d . An u n s c r u p u l o u s e m p l o y e r d e l i b e r a t e l y m i s r e p r e s e n t e d t h e employment c o n d i t i o n s o f a j o b . T h i s e m p l o y e r i s now known t o t h e r e s t o f t h e l o c a l L a t i n A m e r i c a n community and i s a v o i d e d . D e s p i t e t h e f a c t t h a t t h e s t u d i e d C e n t r a l A m e r i c a n r e f u g e e c l a i m a n t s come f r o m f i v e d i f f e r e n t c o u n t r i e s , t h e y seem t o g e t a l o n g v e r y w e l l w i t h e a c h o t h e r . T h i s c o m p a t a b i l i t y c o u l d , i n p a r t , be due t o t h e i s o l a t i o n t h e y f e e l w i t h i n t h e l o c a l n o n - S p a n i s h e n v i r o n m e n t , a s w e l l due t o t h e i r common bond o f l a n g u a g e a n d c u l t u r e . Two s u b j e c t s d i d , however, e x p r e s s n e g a t i v e f e e l i n g s a b o u t t h e i r compadres, m a i n l y b e c a u s e o t h e r s were, i n Page - 93 t h e i r v i e w , b e h a v i n g l i k e "bums a n d n o t g e t t i n g down t o work". O n l y t h r e e o f t h e s u b j e c t s e x p r e s s e d n e g a t i v e f e e l i n g s t o w a r d s t h e n o n - L a t i n s t r e e t p e o p l e . T h e y f e l t t h a t t h e s e p e o p l e were a d i s g r a c e t o o u r s o c i e t y , h a v i n g b e e n b o r n a n d r a i s e d i n Canada, and s t i l l h a v i n g made n o t h i n g o f t h e i r l i v e s d e s p i t e a l l t h e a d v a n t a g e s t h e y h a d b e e n g i v e n . T h e y saw o t h e r s t r e e t p e o p l e a s t r o u b l e m a k e r s , e s p e c i a l l y i n t h e i r u s e a n d a b u s e o f Oppenh e i m e r P a r k a n d t h e community c e n t r e . G e n e r a l l y , t h e s e s e n t i m e n t s were n o t a p p l i e d t o n a t i v e I n d i a n s . One i n t e r e s t i n g f i n d i n g was r e l a t e d t o t h e s u b j e c t s ' r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h women. T e n s u b j e c t s e x p r e s s e d s a t i s f a c t i o n w i t h t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p s t h e y e i t h e r h a d a t t h e t i m e o f i n t e r v i e w o r h a d h a d i n t h e p a s t . Two e x p r e s s e d d i s p l e a s u r e , a n d one c l a i m e d t h a t no s u i t a b l e women were a v a i l a b l e t o h a v e r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h . A l l r e g a r d e d r e l a t i o n s h i p s a s e s s e n t i a l l y s h o r t - t e r m . None wa n t e d a n y t h i n g p e r m a n e n t u n t i l s u c h t i m e a s t h e i r l i v e s h a d some s e m b l a n c e o f o r d e r . The two who were m a r r i e d men s a i d t h a t t h e y m i s s e d t h e i r w i v e s b u t n e v e r t h e l e s s u s e d p r o s t i t u t e s . T he o t h e r s r e f u s e d t o p a y f o r s e x a n d f e l t t o do s o was n o t macho. M o s t o f t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p s t h e y f o r m e d were w i t h n a t i v e I n d i a n women. M o s t e x p r e s s e d t h e s e n t i m e n t t h a t E u r o p e a n C a n a d i a n women were n o t s u i t a b l e b e c a u s e t h e y were " b o s s y " and t r i e d t o o r g a n i z e a n d r u n t h e i r l i v e s . S u b j e c t s s a i d t h e y h a d no o p p o r t u n i t y t o Page - 94 meet women i n the l o c a l L a t i n community. Relationships (other than one-night-stands), lasted only a few weeks or months, but most preferred 11 one-night-stands" or at most a week. Their r e l a t i o n s h i p s with native Indian women have been discussed e a r l i e r i n t h i s study. Problems with mood a l t e r i n g substances were evident, and common. The substance of choice was alcohol, although three sa i d they were drug abusers (marijuana and cocaine). Seven s t i l l had problems with alcohol. Two f e l t that they were able to control the problem, and two f e l t that there was no problem. Two of those with serious alcohol problems also had problems with drugs. A l l the subjects said that they had not had any problems with eith e r alcohol or drugs p r i o r to leaving t h e i r countries of o r i g i n . This statement's v a l i d i t y i s questionable, given personal observations of alcohol consumption during my stay i n Mexico. I t i s more l i k e l y that there was l i t t l e awareness of the concept of substance abuse within the countries of Central America. Alcohol and drugs cost money. This money has been obtained by various means, usually i l l e g a l l y . S h o p l i f t i n g , t h e f t from autos and drug runs to Seattle for l o c a l pushers, are the commonest crimes. Because of the s e n s i t i v i t y of t h i s subject, I was not safely able to explore t h i s area any further. A Comparison Study Page - 95 In 1984 a study of Haitian refugees was conducted i n F l o r i d a , by Alex Stepick and Alejandro Portes. The r e s u l t s were published i n 1986. This study gathered data i n the following areas: a) i n d i v i d u a l background c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of Haitian immigrants; b) t h e i r a r r i v a l and early resettlement experiences; c) t h e i r education, knowledge of English and information about the United States; d) current employment status and occupation; e) income and use of public assistance; f) predictors of employment, occupation, and income; and g) b e l i e f s and orientations. (Stepick & Portes, 1986, p.329) I became aware of t h i s study a f t e r choosing my research t o p i c , but before f i n a l i z i n g my methodology, and decided to t r y to c o l l e c t data on some of the same variables as those i n t h i s study, f o r comparative purposes. H a i t i , l i k e Central America, has not t r a d i t i o n a l l y been a producer of refugees. This changed i n both areas with the a r r i v a l of despotic dic t a t o r s h i p s supported by the United States. In H a i t i ' s case, the r i s e to power of Francois Duvalier i n 1958 saw the f i r s t large exodus of refugees. These f i r s t refugees f l e d to New York, Paris and Montreal, seeking a French-speaking environment. French i s the o f f i c a l language i n H a i t i , and the common language spoken i s Creole, a d i a l e c t with a French base—hence the choice of c i t i e s where French i s spoken (New York has a large French quarter). F l o r i d a , where Stepick/Portes' study was undertaken, was l a r g e l y ignored by Haitian refugees u n t i l about 1977. Page - 96 Haitians had l a r g e l y ignored F l o r i d a as a migration destination u n t i l the l a s t decade. Between 1977 and 1981, however, f i f t y to seventy thousand Haitians arrived by boat i n South F l o r i d a , with the number peaking i n 1980 during the Mariel Cuban b o a t l i f t (Stepick, 1982a:12; Carter, 1980, p. ). Another f i v e to ten thousand came by airplane. The inflow declined s i g n i f i c a n t l y i n 1981 and again i n 1982, p a r t l y as a consequence of a maritime i n t e r d i c t i o n program i n i t i a t e d by the U.S.government. (Stepick & Portes, 1986, p.331) H i s t o r i c a l l y , the f i r s t wave of refugees from H a i t i were the displaced upper middle class of the country. Migrants leaving H a i t i today, as studied by Stepick and Portes, tend to be members of the working c l a s s . S i m i l a r l y , Canada was not sought as a destination for Central American refugees u n t i l the enactment of the Simpson/Mazzoli B i l l of 1982 and the Rodino/Mazzoli B i l l of 1985, r e s t r i c t i n g employment of i l l e g a l a l i e n s i n the U.S. P r i o r to these laws, the U.S. was the destination of choice. The survey done i n F l o r i d a looked at both sexes and, while t h i s complicates the comparison, I f e e l that i t does not i n v a l i d a t e i t . The F l o r i d a survey seperates the Males from the females and the figures f o r both groups are given i n d i v i d u a l l y . Numbers fo r males only are therefore easy to obtain and are d i s t i n c t from those of females. In analyzing the r e s u l t s of the F l o r i d a survey, the authors acknowledge that while no simple generalizations can be made about the refugees' backgrounds, some Page - 97 patterns do emerge. The migration group i s r e l a t i v e l y young, with an average age of 29. This average i s close to that found i n my survey where the average age at departure was 25, with an average length of journey of three years, bringing the average age i n Vancouver to 28. In the Haitian sample, 63% were considered r u r a l residents (from v i l l a g e s with less than 10,000 i n population) compared with 60% from the Central American sample. Also, i t should be noted that 63% of the Haitians had resided continuously i n t h e i r places of b i r t h p r i o r to migration, compared to 84% of the Central Americans studied. A general comment that can be made about the two populations i s that they are young and pr i m a r i l y of r u r a l o r i g i n , but urbanizing. A b r i e f look at the following figures gives a quick breakdown of the more relevant demographics. Variable S i g n i f i c a n t Group Vancouver F l o r i d a Study Study Age (years) a l l subjects 28 29 Ma r i t a l Status % Single 84 54 Birthplace % V i l l a g e s < 10,000 60 64 % C i t i e s > 50,000 28 19 Stepick and Portes make the following observation about the reception that the Haitian refugees received on t h e i r o r i g i n a l a r r i v a l s i n F l o r i d a . Page - 98 When s i g n i f i c a n t numbers of Haitians began a r r i v i n g on South Florida's shores i n the l a t e 1970's, l o c a l l y dominant groups perceived t h e i r uncontrolled entry as a threat to the economy of the area, an army of unnecessary and unwanted labour. (Stepick & Portes, 1986, p.334) Similar f e e l i n g s have been expressed i n Vancouver with regard to migrants from "Third world" countries. This a t t i t u d e i s , I suspect, universal and contributes negatively to the integration of migrants into the dominant community. As i n the Haitian case, i t has been the church and other l i b e r a l organizations that have championed the cause of Central American refugees i n Canada. They have lobbied governments, both at the p r o v i n c i a l and the federal l e v e l s , for recognition of the sp e c i a l needs of these refugees. The Haitians, l i k e the Central Americans, have experienced discrimination at the hands of lawmakers. The "red tape" surrounding the entry of these people has, i n Stepick's and Portes's words, resulted i n "severe psychological s t r e s s " . Pablo Bazerque indicated that i n the Central American population he deals with i n Vancouver (the group I studied), the psychological scars of t h e i r treatment i n Canada add to t h e i r problems integrating into society and make i t even more d i f f i c u l t to deal with the traumas of t h e i r past l i v e s i n Central America and t h e i r misadventures on the road to Canada. Page - 99 Another area where comparison of the two studies i s i l l u m i n a t i n g i s that of economics. Stepick and Portes found that: In s p i t e of the traumas associated with detention and uncertain l e g a l status, economic problems have been the central concern fo the h a i t i a n s since t h e i r a r r i v a l . . . . I n sum, Haitian refugees ar r i v e d into the c i t y that d i d not expect or desire t h e i r presence, they suffered frequent incarcerations and, when f i n a l l y released, lacked the support of strong family networks. they sought refuge i n ethnic neighbourhoods which gave them access to cheap, but deteriorated housing. These severe i n i t i a l d i f f i c u l t i e s combined to make economic problems t h e i r c e n t r a l concern i n the united States. (Stepick & Portes, 1986, p.335) Central American refugee claimants are placed i n much the same p o s i t i o n . They usually have not had to undergo incarceration, but have experienced a l l the other negative forces faced by t h e i r Haitian counterparts. The following table gives some idea of the s i m i l a r i t y of t h e i r a r r i v a l and resettlement problems. Variable Mean no. r e l a t i v e s i n country at a r r i v a l S i g n i f i c a n t Group a l l Vancouver 06 Perceived help (%) received from r e l a t i v e s Perceived group that gave most help (%) P r i n c i p a l problem (%) 2.7 39.8 f a i r amount F l o r i d a 1.6 7.5 (1/13) 78 r e l a t i v e s 7 govt, agencies 53 churches 15 s e l f 7 none 0 language 54 economic 38 90 5 5 0 28 Page - 100 c u l t u r a l 15 6.1 a s s i m i l a t i o n l e g a l / 7 8.6 immigration E t h n i c i t y of neighbours (%) same ethnic group 46 65 As can be seen from the above chart, member s of both groups have few r e l a t i v e s i n the country of refuge. However, i n the case of the Haitians, the amount of perceived help received from these r e l a t i v e s i s high, whereas the support received by Central American i s very low. This could be because the F l o r i d a Haitian ethnic group i s much larger than the Central American group i n Vancouver (80,000 Haitians a r r i v e d i n South F l o r i d a between 1977 and 1981, compared with an estimated 7,500 Central Americans i n Vancouver at the time of my study). The Central American community i n Vancouver i s s t i l l r e l a t i v e l y small and quite fragmented (from several d i f f e r e n t countries, whereas the Haitians are a l l from the same country). The differences i n perceived sources of help can be seem as a d i r e c t outcome of the s o l i d a r i t y that e x i s t s i n the Haitian community i n F l o r i d a and the group negativism that r e s u l t s from the frequent incarcerations suffered by these refugees. In contrast, the strong r e l i a n c e i n Vancouver on government agencies i s l i k e l y due to Canadian s o c i a l services, which t r a d i t i o n a l l y are much more extensive than those i n the U.S. Page - 101 In a comparison of perceived problems, both groups expressed concern regarding t h e i r economic s i t u a t i o n s . Only language problems rated a higher response f o r the Central Americans i n Vancouver. The v a r i a t i o n i n r e s u l t s i n the two surveys i n t h i s area may possibly l i e i n the larger number of Haitians to be found i n Southern F l o r i d a , which eliminates, to some extent, the need to speak, English. A larger percentage of Haitians also claimed some knowledge of English at a r r i v a l — 68%, compared with 23% of the Central Americans. A comparison of educational data f o r the two groups shows s i m i l a r i t i e s . Variable Categories Vancouver F l o r i d a Education i n Haiti/C.A. % High School Graduation 23 9.6 Average (years) 9 5.9 Education i n U.S./Canada % None 61 45.4 % E.S.L only 39 86.7 Average (months) 6 7.6 Knowledge of English % None 54 31.6 % Some 23 38.2 % Fluent 23 30.1 Knowledge of U.S./Canada % None 23 39.5 % Some 54 50.1 % Moderate 23 10.5 Page - 102 Variable Categories Vancouver F l o r i d a Newspaper Reading Language Radio Listen i n g Language % Daily % Weekly/Monthly % Almost never % Creole/Spanish % English % Both % Daily % Weekly/Monthly % Almost never % Creole/Spanish % English % Both 31 54 15 8 46 31 69 23 7 0 77 0 18.7 35.3 46.0 28.0 31.9 40.1 69.8 27.1 3.1 26.3 11.5 62.2 On average, educational data f o r the two groups show that the Central Americans have achieved a s l i g h t l y higher mean l e v e l of education than t h e i r Haitian counterparts. Stepick and Portes, i n t h e i r analysis of the educational l e v e l s of Haitian refugees, suggest that the group who migrate have an above-average l e v e l of education compared to the norms of Haitian society: Results thus reveal a population with above average l e v e l s of education by Haitian standards, but s i g n i f i c a n t l y below the U.S. average. (Stepick & Portes, 1986, p.338) Page - 103 Previous employment i s another area where the two groups can be compared. Variable Categories Occupation % Vancouver % F l o r i d a Full-time Student 8 Jobless - 28 Farm/Blue c o l l a r 46 55 White c o l l a r 15 4 Service 8 4 Professional 8 9 M i l i t a r y / P o l i c e 15 I t can be seen that the two populations are s i m i l a r , i n that the majority of both groups were employed e i t h e r as farm workers or i n the trades. Recent employment among the two groups i n t h e i r new countries show an i n t e r e s t i n g pattern. Variable Categories % Vancouver % F l o r i d a Occupation Jobless/Never Employed 23 35.7 Farm/Blue c o l l a r 54 61.9 S k i l l e d 7 8.0 Services 15 3.4 Professional 0 1.0 When we compare t h i s table with the one above, we can see that i n most cases, job expectations have had to be lowered. Among the Central Americans, apart from the f u l l - t i m e student, a l l had been employed p r i o r to leaving, while 28% of the Haitians reported that they had been unemployed. For the Central Americans, occupational figures " i n Canada" r e f l e c t occupations that they have held but may not necessarily hold at the time of study. Page - 104 The jobless rate i s , i n r e a l i t y , much higher than s t a t i s t i c s suggest as much of the work i s seasonal and/or temporary. When interviewed, only two subjects were a c t u a l l y employed. In the case of the Haitians, the figures represent t h e i r actual status at the time of interview. Stepick and Portes state: The jobless rate i n t h i s sample does not r e f l e c t unwillingness to j o i n the labour force. To the contrary, less than 2% of the males...define themselves as unemployed and not looking f o r work. Thus the jobless rate i s almost i d e n t i c a l to that of true (involuntary) unemployment. Current l e v e l s of unemployment are not only overwhelming but r e f l e c t a quasi-permanent s i t u a t i o n for the respondents. (Stepick & Portes, 1986, p.338) Taking into account the employment record of the Central American refugees during the time they have been i n Vancouver, i t can be f a i r l y said that they and the Haitians have had s i m i l a r experiences. A b r i e f look at each group's dependence on s o c i a l assistance reveals that the average length of time that they require assistance i s 10.7 months f o r Haitians and 9.1 months fo r Central Americans. Economic success i n a new country requires s k i l l i n the language of that country. This usually means ESL t r a i n i n g , f o r both the Haitians i n F l o r i d a and the Central Americans i n Vancouver. Stepick and Portes report that English classes f o r the Haitians have been less than successful. Page - 105 Many refugees have attempted to improve t h e i r education, p a r t i c u l a r l y t h e i r English s k i l l , but so f a r these e f f o r t s have yielded l i t t l e r e s u l t s . As a whole, the sample has l i t t l e knowledge of English or information about the U.S. society. (Stepick & Portes, 1986, p.338) In Vancouver, the r e s u l t s are s t i l l "not i n " as the only f a c i l i t y a v a i l a b l e to the refugee claimants has only been i n opperation since September 1990. The success of the claimants who had ESL t r a i n i n g i n Ontario would suggest that the group presently i n Canada might have a higher success rate than t h e i r Haitian counterparts. This could, i n part, be due to the smaller numbers and the pressures of the economic r e a l i t y f orcing a s s i m i l a t i o n . While access to education and s k i l l t r a i n i n g i s of fundamental importance, i t i s doubtful that at t h i s l a t e date the t r a i n i n g can ever remove the gap between expectations and r e a l i t y . Page - 106 Chapter Eight Review of services and agencies Once refugee claimant have passed the f i r s t hurdle of being allowed to remain i n Canada, they must, while awaiting t h e i r determination hearings, survive as best they can on the $486.00 per month they receive from welfare. How do they cope? How do they make t h e i r space within a v a i l a b l e choices and opportunities? The answer to these questions i s one of the thrusts of t h i s paper. Before one can a r r i v e at a s a t i s f a c t o r y answer i t i s es s e n t i a l to review the background against which they must work. Refugee claimants have contact with only two government agencies: f i r s t l y , i n the process of dealing with t h e i r refugee status claims, and secondly, while c o l l e c t i n g t h e i r welfare cheques. No s p e c i f i c government group or agency i s responsible for t h e i r welfare or avai l a b l e to discuss t h e i r p a r t i c u l a r problems or concerns. Those agencies they do deal with, r a r e l y have a Spanish-speaking member of s t a f f . Interpreters are sometimes av a i l a b l e at Employment and Immigration Canada and refugee determination board hearings, but more commonly, e s p e c i a l l y a f t e r t h e i r i n i t i a l hearings claimants must supply t h e i r own in t e r p r e t e r s . These interpreters are often supplied through MOSAIC (see below for further d e t a i l s ) . Page - 107 Other organizations with which the refugee claimants sometimes come i n contact include the Downtown Eastside Youth Project, through t h e i r Spanish-speaking streetworker Pablo Bazarque (mentioned previously), the community centre at 44 Alexander i n the downtown east side, the Carnegie Branch of the Vancouver Public Library (which i n c i d e n t a l l y , has no c o l l e c t i o n of Spanish-language books), and ESL drop-in classes, as well as the various churches and s o c i e t i e s i n the downtown east side. Organizations, l i k e MOSAIC and the Immigration Service Society of B r i t s h Columbia (ISS), that are i n part funded by the Canadian Employment and Immigration Commission (CEIC) and the Immigrant Settlement and Adjustment Program (ISAP), are nonprofit s o c i e t i e s whose s p e c i f i c goals are helping with the as s i m i l a t i o n and t r a i n i n g of immigrants. They only become involved with refugee claimants (including those from Central America), i n d i r e c t l y , through some of t h e i r a u x i l i a r y programs such as i n t e r p r e t i n g and l e g a l a i d . The ESL programs they o f f e r are not availa b l e to refugee claimants. A new service on the ground f l o o r of the bui l d i n g housing MOSAIC recently started o f f e r i n g ESL classes to refugee claimants. ISS, i n p a r t i c u l a r , i s dedicated to helping only landed immigrants and government-sponsored refugees. MOSAIC does, on the other hand, t r y to give support services to refugee claimants when they can. Page - 108 The only other organizations that the refugee claimants sometimes become involved with are p o l i t i c a l l y oriented organizations such as The Human Rights Commission of E l Salvador (CDHES), SalvAide, and the Canadian Honduras Information and Support Association (CHISA), to mention a few. A l l these associations have branches i n Vancouver, and although supportive of a l l refugees, appeal more to the in t e r e s t s of more educated and s e t t l e d refugees, rather than to the group under study herein. One other place that o f f e r s moral support to refugee claimants i s the cafe "La Quena" on Commercial Drive i n Vancouver. The management of the restuarant encourage Latins to gather at t h i s l o cation and promotes and supports many L a t i n events i n the community. At "La Quena", Latins get together to s o c i a l i z e i n Spanish. Here they can meet and share experiences, as well as gain information on job opportunities and hear the l a t e s t news from t h e i r homelands. Newspapers from many Central and South American countries are avai l a b l e f o r patrons to peruse. Networking among the many s o c i a l groups within the Vancouver L a t i n community i s possible within the informal atmosphere of the cafe. The c l i e n t e l e tends to be p o l a r i z e d p o l i t i c a l l y towards the l e f t . By f a r the most important support service to the refugees are the Spanish-speaking streetworkers. These in d i v i d u a l s work out of t h e i r l o c a l area o f f i c e s and meet Page - 109 on a regular basis with many of the refugees during t h e i r evening p a t r o l s . They help them with many of t h e i r day-to-day problems and t r y to f i n d the support and extra services they need. Without t h i s e s s e n t i a l service, the singl e male refugees would have d i f f i c u l t y i n surviving. More of these streetworkers are desperately needed, but funding i s , as always, a problem. Having established the services and help avai l a b l e , we now come to the nub of the question as to how they survive on t h e i r meagre welfare cheques and the few services a v a i l a b l e . F i r s t l y , i t should be pointed out that these people are survivors. They have survived repression i n t h e i r homeland, the r i g o r s of the leaving and the journey North. They have also endured t h e i r "half open" acceptance into Canada. Secondly, they are people who have taken charge of t h e i r own futures by leaving the "security" of t h e i r birthplace. Accommodation and food are e a s i l y accounted f o r : the areas to which they have gravitated contain a number of cheap hotels and boarding houses where the average rent i s $250.00 per month. Food, e s p e c i a l l y i n "China town" i s r e l a t i v e l y cheap to buy and a large number of services and organizations provide meals to the needy. The most pressing needs are s p i r i t u a l and these are met, to some extent, by the closeness of the group. The amount of s e l f help and support given within the group i s Page - 110 augmented by t h e s t r e e t - w o r k e r s , s u c h a s P a b l o , who a r e a n e s s e n t i a l l i n k t h a t c o n t r i b u t e s t o t h e i r w e l l - b e i n g . However t h i s s u p p o r t i s c e r t a i n l y no enough an d t h e g r o u p s c o u l d do w i t h more. I n t h e downtown e a s t s i d e , P a b l o f r o m t h e D.E.Y.A.S. i s t h e o n l y S p a n i s h s p e a k i n g s t r e e t w o r k e r a n d he i n on d u t y o n l y on Wednesday t o Sunday f r o m 3.p.m. t o m i d n i g h t . M o s t n i g h t s he i s l u c k y t o g e t o f f t h e s t r e e t b e f o r e two o r t h r e e i n t h e m o r n i n g . A t o t h e r t i m e s t h e c l i e n t s must d e a l w i t h t h e E n g l i s h s p e a k i n g s t a f f who u s u a l l y h a v e t h e i r h a n d s f u l l d e a l i n g w i t h t h e l a r g e N a t i v e I n d i a n p o p u l a t i o n who a l s o i n h a b i t t h i s s e c t i o n o f town. Oppenheimer P a r k i s u s e d a s a m e e t i n g p l a c e b y t h e r e f u g e e c l a i m a n t s f r o m a l l t h r e e a r e a s i n V a n c o u v e r . I t i s u s e d b o t h a s a s o c i a l i z i n g a r e a a n d a m e e t i n g p l a c e . D u r i n g t h e s p r i n g , summer and f a l l " s c r a t c h " s p o r t s e v e n t s a r e h e l d . S o c c e r i s p l a y e d i n s p r i n g a n d f a l l w h i l e i n summer i t i s s o f t b a l l . M o s t f i n e e v e n i n g s w i l l f i n d anywhere f r o m t w e n t y o r more l a t i n s g a t h e r e d i n t h e p a r k . The p a r k s e r v e s a s a r e c r u i t i n g g r o u n d f o r j o b s , e s p e c i a l l y i n t h e summer and f a l l f o r f a r m work. I t i s a l s o u s e d a s a p l a c e t o swap news f r o m home and d i s c u s s e v e r y t h i n g f r o m p o l i t i c s t o l i f e i n g e n e r a l . A number o f y o u n g N a t i v e I n d i a n women a l s o c o n g r e g a t e i n t h e p a r k w i t h t h e l a t i n s , e s p e c i a l l y a r o u n d t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e month f o l l o w i n g " w e l f a r e Wednesday". B e c a u s e t h i s g r o u p h a s g e n e r a l l y l i t t l e f r e e c a s h t h e y a r e more l i k e l y t o be Page - 111 f o u n d a r o u n d t h e p a r k o r a t 44 A l e x a n d e r ( i n t h e w i n t e r ) t h a n a t L a Quena. The r e a s o n i s c o s t . L e Quena i s a r e s t a u r a n t a n d c l i e n t s a r e e x p e c t e d t o p u r c h a s e a t l e a s t a c o f f e e . 44 A l e x a n d e r community c e n t r e i s d u r i n g t h e w i n t e r f r e q u e n t e d by many o f t h e l a t i n s . The c e n t r e o f f e r s c h e a p m e a l s , f r e e T.V. a n d v i d e o s a s w e l l a s c a r d games, t a b l e t e n n i s a n d p o o l t a b l e s . The c e n t r e i s v e r y a c t i v e a n d s u p p o r t s a mix o f g r o u p s i n c l u d i n g N a t i v e I n d i a n s , C a u c a s i a n s , L a t i n s and o c c a s i o n a l l y West I n d i a n s . The c e n t r e i s g e n e r a l l y b u s y and n o i s y and n o t a g o o d p l a c e t o c o n s u l t o t h e r s o v e r c u r r e n t p r o b l e m s . The C a r n e g i e l i b r a r y o f f e r s a w i d e v a r i e t y o f s e r v i c e s . E n g l i s h n e w s p a p e r s and m a g a z i n e s a r e a v a i l a b l e b u t , a s m e n t i o n e d e a r l i e r , no b o o k s o r m a g a z i n e s i n S p a n i s h . C h e s s an d c a r d games h a v e t h e i r own room a s w e l l a s a room f o r T.V. a n d v i d e o . E.S.L. c l a s s e s a r e a l s o o f f e r e d a s w e l l a s c l a s s e s i n s i m p l e j o b s k i l l s s u c h a s w r i t i n g r e s u m e s an d l e t t e r s o f a p p l i c a t i o n , t r a i n i n g i n how t o o b t a i n a d r i v e r s l i c e n c e e t c . The l i b r a r y a l s o h a s a s m a l l r e s t a u r a n t where m e a l s an d s o f t d r i n k s , c o f f e e a n d t e a c a n be p u r c h a s e d a t v e r y r e a s o n a b l e p r i c e s . The l i b r a r y h o u r s a r e f r o m 10.a.m. t o 10 pm Monday t o S a t u r d a y . H o t e l rooms a r e n o t a g o od p l a c e t o s o c i a l i z e a s t h e m anagers a r e v e r y s t r i c t a b o u t v i s i t o r s . T h i s i s b e c a u s e t h e y c o n s t a n t l y f e e l t h a t t h e f r i e n d s w i l l s t a y o v e r n i g h t Page - 112 or bring booze into the room and create a disturbance. A number of those interviewed mentioned having the manager burst into t h e i r rooms and expelling a l l those present when they attempted to get together t h i s way. The end r e s u l t i s usually that the renter looses the room and a l l are thrown out. When they protest, the p o l i c e are c a l l e d and they are a l l evicted and charges l a i d by the manager usually f o r disturbing the peace or alcohol abuse. Educational opportunities Because of the r e s t r i c t i o n s placed on refugee claimants' e l i g i b i l i t y to receive the free ESL classes that are availa b l e to immigrants i n B r i t i s h Columbia, none of the refugee claimants who entered Canada through B r i t i s h Columbia's border crossings have received any formal ESL classes u n t i l the very recent past (n.b. see note at the end of t h i s chapter about a new program i n Vancouver). In Ontario, ESL classes are availa b l e to a l l newcomers to Canada, whether they are immigrants, refugees or refugee claimants. The Toronto Board of Education has adopted a p o l i c y , contrary to general guidelines set down by the federal government, which o f f e r s free ESL classes to a l l who need them. The Toronto Board of Continuing Education Calendar states:Reading, wri t i n g and o r a l language development are taught i n small groups and through tutoring. Course contents focuses on Page - 113 day to day l i f e s k i l l s , such as home management, shopping and banking. These courses lay the foundation f o r those who wish to develop t h e i r English Language s k i l l s through English as a Second Language programs. Learners may choose from two programs - b i l i g u a l or u n i l i n g u a l . . . . ESL l i t e r a c y : Unilincrual This program operates i n an environment i n which the d i v e r s i t y of languages and cultures may e x i s t . For t h i s reason, course content offered i s i n English only, and support of mother tongue i s not available....These  programs are free, (emphasis author's) (Calender, Adult and Continuing Education, F a l l and Winter 89/90, Toronto Board of Education) Free programs are available to: Canadian C i t i z e n s r e s i d i n g i n Ontario Landed immigrants r e s i d i n g i n Ontario Those applying f o r Landed Immigrant Status r e s i d i n g i n Ontario (Calender, Adult and Continuing Education, F a l l and Winter 89/90, Toronto Board of Education) S i g n i f i c a n t l y , t h i s l a s t clause also i s applicable to refugee claimants, as they are, i n essence, applying f o r landed immigrant status. In contrast, s i m i l a r classes i n B r i t i s h Columbia are av a i l a b l e only to landed immigrants. Refugee claimants are treated as residents, rather than immigrants, and are required to pay f o r any courses they wish to take. Courses cost between $60.00 and $120.00 apiece f o r an approximately 10-week term. Understandably, t h i s cost i s out of reach of most refugee claimants. There i s , i n Vancouver, a long waiting l i s t f o r these courses and Page - 114 those wishing to take them often have to wait f o r s i x months or more. Some private organizations and church groups have, i n the recent past, attempted to provide ESL services for refugee claimants. These classes are often dependent on volunteer teachers and are usually of a drop-in nature. The Downtown East Side Youth Project offered one such program a year ago at the Carnegie Library i n the downtown east side. The program was offered one night a week during the winter months. Despite the w e l l -intentioned e f f o r t s of the organizers and teachers involved, the program was not very e f f e c t i v e . I p a r t i c i p a t e d i n t h i s program during the winter of 1988/89, and found that i t needed to be offered on a much more regular basis ( i e . several times a week), with f i n a n c i a l support and greater a v a i l a b i l i t y of resources, for i t to succeed. The church groups i n the area have attempted to run s i m i l a r programs, but these, too, have suffered from a lack of regular p a r t i c i p a n t s , with students demoralized by the lack of funding and materials required to provide a sound educational base to ESL learning. For most refugee claimants i n B r i t i s h Columbia, there are no ESL classes. Yet i t i s the refugees' greatest need, i f they are to be able to make t h e i r way successfully i n Canadian society. Gerald Dirks comments, i n h i s book on Canada's refugee p o l i c y , as follows: Page - 115 The temperament, education, and vocational t r a i n i n g of the new refugee s i g n i f i c a n t l y accounts for h i s a b i l i t y or i n a b i l i t y to adapt to a strange environment. By nature, some people are i n f l e x i b l e i n temperament and encounter marked d i f f i c u l t y i n adjusting to a foreign society. The s t r a i n may be severe enough i n some cases to r e s u l t i n mental or physical collapse. (Dirks, 1977, p.12) Freda Hawkins outlines twelve areas of d i f i c u l t y that may be faced by newcomers to Canada. These areas include: ...employment; emergency welfare and medical assistance; language t r a i n i n g ; t r a n s l a t i o n and inte r p r e t e r services;...vocational t r a i n i n g and adjustment;...and substantial protection f o r in d i v i d u a l human r i g h t s and the r i g h t s of immigration organizations. (Hawkins,1972,p.361) Hawkins also expresses the hope that other provinces w i l l follow the lead of Ontario i n set t i n g up s p e c i a l programs for a l l immigrants. She p a r t i c u l a r l y admires and recommends Ontario's three-part program fo r immigrants that includes reception services, orientation, and intergroup development. This program i s ava i l a b l e to a l l newcomers i r r e s p e c t i v e of t h e i r status (landed or applying f o r landed immigrant status). I t i s surely time that the governments of some other provinces paid attention to these moves and began to develop t h e i r own d i s t i n c t i v e brand of programs to f a c i l i t a t e the settlement and adjustment of immigrants. (Hawkins,1972,p.360) A new program has recently been i n s t i t u t e d , i n Vancouver, that i s attempting to address some of the needs of the refugee claimant population f o r ESL classes. Page - 116 This program began operation i n September 1990, under a "Section 28" grant from the federal government. The program i s sponsored by the Inland Refugee Society at t h e i r f a c i l i t i e s on Commercial Drive i n Vancouver. Classes are offered four days a week on a f u l l - t i m e basis, and evenings from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. twice a week. The school operates with three f u l l - t i m e teachers and a number of volunteers. At present, each c l a s s e n r o l l s eighteen students. The program i s scheduled to run u n t i l the end of March, at which time a new group of students w i l l be enrolled. Pam Goodwin, one of the teachers i n the program, informed me that the program already has a long waiting l i s t and that "they could e a s i l y t r i p l e the program s t a r t i n g yesterday". This program i s a beginning, and i t i s my hope that the future w i l l see more enterprises l i k e t h i s . Page - 117 Chapter Nine  Conclusions I have shown that some p a r a l l e l s e x i s t between the findings of Stepich and Portes i n F l o r i d a and my own research i n Vancouver. While the survey conducted i n F l o r i d a involved 499 adult Haitians, compared with a sample of only 13 i n Vancouver, the p a r a l l e l s are s i g n i f i c a n t . I f e e l that i n cases where the two surveys corraborate one another i t can be argued that the data c o l l e c t e d i n Vancouver can be sai d to be supportable despite the small sampling undertaken. The group of Central American refugee claimants i n Vancouver arrived unannounced and without any demand for t h e i r services, thus they, l i k e the Haitians i n South F l o r i d a , "were defined, from the s t a r t , as a redundant labour force and were deprived the de facto protection provided by employers to established sources of immigrant labour (Stepick, 1982b; NACLA,1979; Bach,1983)". (Stepick & Portes, 1986, p.347) Stepick and Portes hold out the hope that despite the d i f f i c u l t i e s faced by the Haitians i n South F l o r i d a they w i l l eventually f i n d a niche within the existent society. They c i t e two reasons f o r t h i s optimism. Page - 118 F i r s t , there i s the motivation of the immigrants themselves. Individuals who dared to cross 700 miles of open sea to F l o r i d a shores aboard barely seaworthy c r a f t comprise, undoubtedly, a sel e c t group. Their commitment to stay i n the U.S. and advance economically, despite a l l d i f f i c u l t i e s bodes well f o r the future. Second, i t i s l i k e l y that the o r i g i n a l h o s t i l i t y and prejudice found i n t h e i r new environment w i l l decrease with time. (Stepick & Portes, 1986. p.347) In the case of the Central Americans i n Vancouver I would suggest a s i m i l a r optimism. The Central American refugees who reach Vancouver have t r a v e l l e d many thousands of miles over an average of three years. This has often been through h o s t i l e t e r r i t o r y or through countries where a l l a l i e n s are subject to harassment and arrest. They bring a determination to succeed, both economically and s p i r i t u a l l y . They, too, have had to overcome an i n i t i a l reluctance regarding admittance and a l l are s t i l l uncertain as to t h e i r a b i l i t y to stay and be granted "landed" status. I t i s l i k e l y that t h i s group w i l l eventually f i l l a low-wage, menial job niche "that i s preferable to widespread unemployment. Such jobs may provide the r e q u i s i t e base f o r future advancement by an ambitious group." (Stepick & Portes, 1986. p.348). A question that needs to be asked i s : do we need immigrants? The answer to t h i s i s an unqualified "yes". Constantine Passaris, an economics professor at the University of New Brunswick and member of the Economic Council of Canada and an acknowledged s p e c i a l i s t i n Canadian immigration and refugee movements, puts i t t h i s way: Page - 119 While our hi s t o r y of Canada i s c l o s e l y linked to immigration, i t i s becoming obvious that Canada's future w i l l be la r g e l y dependent on the same fact o r . Canada's contemporary demographic p r o f i l e , characterized by the end of the baby-boom, the decline i n f e r t i l i t y rates, the ageing trend of the population and the prospects f o r an absolute decline i n population shortly a f t e r the turn of the [twenty-first] century, necessitate an enhanced r o l e for immigration and a more proactive immigration p o l i c y to confront the s o c i a l and economic challenges and opportunities of the ensuing decades. (Passaris, 1989, p.28) (Other studies support t h i s trend, Don Devoretz (SFU) and the Lourier Institute) #§$%#§.Complete. The r i c h p o t e n t i a l that l i e s i n the m u l t i l i n g u a l c a p a b i l i t i e s of immigrants, be they landed or refugee, w i l l , i n the future, be a valuable resource f o r Canada as trade continues to develop i n the Americas and across the P a c i f i c to our partners on the P a c i f i c Rim. The a b i l i t y to speak f l u e n t l y i n Spanish and English, and the contacts i n the home countries of the refugee claimants under review, w i l l , i n the long run, be of value to Canada. Instead of creating hardships and b a r r i e r s to these displaced people, we would better serve our longterm in t e r e s t s by making them as quickly as possible, productive members of our society. A f t e r a waiting period of, on average, f i v e years, these people have earned the r i g h t to remain, to t r y and e s t a b l i s h new l i v e s without the threat of deportation under which they presently s u f f e r . Hopefully t h e i r o f f s p r i n g w i l l be able to take t h e i r r i g h t f u l place i n Canadian society and t h i s w i l l somehow address the repression, poverty and uncertainty t h e i r parents face today. Page - 120 Current figure coming out of the federal Department of Employment and Immigration indicate that our current acceptance rate of refugee claimants i s 91% a f t e r f i n a l hearing (Dirks, 1984, p.300;). In 1990, at a conference on Central American refugees held i n Vancouver, Lloyd Axworthy, L i b e r a l immigration c r i t i c and former immigration minister, claimed that t h i s figure was 95%.(Personal communication). If t h i s i s the case, surely i t would be better to give these people ESL t r a i n i n g and the job s k i l l s that they need to become productive p o t e n t i a l c i t i z e n s , rather than being doomed to continue belonging to a marginalized part of Canadian society. Those (currently 5%) who are deemed not to have an acceptable claim, and who are returned to t h e i r countries of o r i g i n , w i l l leave with s k i l l s that w i l l benefit t h e i r countries, and may eventually i n d i r e c t l y benefit Canada i f they use t h e i r s k i l l s to help t h e i r countries overcome t h e i r massive i n t e r n a t i o n a l debt loads (which are currently being helped by Canadian banks and other f i n a n c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s to the detriment of Canadian taxpayers). The longer we delay i n helping these people to develop the s k i l l s need to become self-supporting, the harder i t w i l l be f o r them to integrate successfully into the Canadian system, and become productive c i t i z e n s . Research elsewhere (Alan Nash(1987), Constantine Passaris(1989), Freda Hawkins(1972,1989) and Gerald Dirks(1977,1984,1988)) has Page - 121 indicated that immigrants, as a group, produce s i x new jobs, each, within three years of landing i n Canada. ...the Longitudinal Study of the Economic and S o c i a l Adaption of Immigrants d i d indicate, i n work published i n 1981, that members of a sample of self-employed immigrants landed i n 1969 had, on averge, created s i x jobs each within a period of three years. (Nash, 1987, p.i) I suspect that these refugee claimants, who have, on t h e i r own i n i t i a t i v e , t r a v e l l e d the length of North America to ar r i v e i n Canada, w i l l prosper and become assets to Canadian society as well, i f given half a chance. Recommendations I think that the system that allows these refugees access to Canada, but delays t h e i r determination and refuses to a s s i s t them i n becoming competent and independent adults i s indefensible. The s i t u a t i o n that single male, Central American refugee claimants f i n d themselves i n , upon a r r i v a l i n Canada, i s one of confusion and d i s o r i e n t a t i o n . Not only are they caught up i n the "red tape" of t h e i r having sidestepped the normal and accepted means of entry, but they also must face and answer questions fundamental to t h e i r applications as refugee claimants, i n a foreign language, and often without the assistance of an int e r p r e t e r . On being admitted to the country so as to pursue t h e i r claims, they are l e f t to fend f o r themselves i n a society that they Page - 122 do not understand and whose language they barely comprehend. P r i o r to January 1989, they were only able to support themselves by accepting welfare. Since that date they have been e l i g i b l e to seek work. With no formal ESL classes or s p e c i f i c job t r a i n i n g , many are not equipped to take the opportunity to seek work. As well, many of the occupations that they pursued i n t h e i r countries of o r i g i n are not transferable to the Canadian economy, and so they are usually forced to seek menial, low-paying entry l e v e l jobs such as dishwashing or working as busboys, b u i l d i n g s i t e labourers, or seasonal farm workers, jobs that require few s k i l l s and are not p a r t i c u l a r l y dependent on language s k i l l s . Even i n these jobs, they must compete with the many new Canadian immigrants, as well as other Canadians. Judging by the r e s u l t s of my survey, and admittedly i t covers only approximately 10% of the refugee claimant population i n the downtown core at the time of survey, I f e e l obliged to point out that the f i v e refugee claimants interviewed who had entered Canada i n Ontario, and were thus e l i g i b l e f o r ESL t r a i n i n g , demonstrated c l e a r l y the value of the t r a i n i n g they received. This t r a i n i n g took them beyond the stage of "just coping" and up to the l e v e l of being conversant with the s o c i a l and economic underpinnings of Canadian d a i l y l i f e , as well as enabling them to function at a more-than-survival l e v e l i n t h e i r d a i l y l i v e s . My recommendation to the p r o v i n c i a l m i n i s t r i e s involved i s that they follow the lead of Ontario, ignore the stated Page - 123 p o l i c y of the federal government, and open ESL classes and other t r a i n i n g to a l l seeking landed immigrant status, including refugee claimants. Page - 124 Reference L i s t Aga Khan, S. & Bin T a l a l , H. (1986). Refugees: the dynamics  of displacement. London: Zid Books Ltd. Anderson, P.T. (1988). P o l i t i c s i n Central America. New York: Praeger. Abe11a, I. & Troper, H. (1982). None i s too many: Canada and the Jews of Europe 1933 - 1948. Toronto:_ Lester & Orpen Dennys. Bergman,J. (June 1980) Income D i s t r i b u t i o n and Poverty i n Mexico. World Bank Staff Working Paper No. 395. Washington D.C. Boyd, M. (Winter 1986). Temporary Workers i n Canada: A multifaceted program. International Migration Review. 20(4) pp. 929 - 950. 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(1988). The Refugee Determination Process. Canadian Journal of P o l i t i c a l Science. 17(2) Page - 125 Doyle K. & Editors (July 10, 1989). Special Report on Immigration. Maclean's. 103(28) pp. 14 - 25. E h r l i c h , P.R., Bilderbach, L. & E h r l i c h , A. (1979). The  Golden Door: International Migration. Mexico, and the U.S. New York: _Ballantine Books. Employment and Immigration Canada. (1986). Annual Report to  Parliament on Future Immigration Levels. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada. Employment and Immigration Canada. (1987). Annual Report to  Parliament on Future Immigration Levels. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services Canada. Employment and Immigration Canada. (1989). Backlog Clearance  Process. IM 023/4/89 Public A f f a i r s , Employment and Immigration Canada, Ottawa, Ont. Employment and Immigration Canada & Immigration Advisary Council. (Aug,1988). Perspective on Immigration i n Canada:  F i n a l report. 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Toronto: _Lester & Orpen Dennys. Whitaker, R. (May - June 1987). Murder by Decree: The New Tory Refugee P o l i c y . This Magazine. 2jl(2) pp. 14 - 18. Wright, R. (May 1987). Escape to Canada. Saturday Night. 102(5) 44. Zolberg, A.R., Suhrke, A., & Aguayo, S. (Summer 1986). International Factors i n the Formation of Refugee Movements. International Migration Review. 2_0(2) pp. 151 - 169. Zolberg, A.R., Suhrke, A., & Aguayo, S. (1989) Escape from  violence: C o n f l i c t and the refugee c r i s i s i n the developing  world. Oxford University Press. Oxford. U.K. Page - 129 APPENDIX I Interview Data Analysis.  Country. E l Salvador 9 Guatamala 2 Honduras 2 Mexico 1 TOTAL 13 Background C h a r a c t o r i s t i c s . Population of birthplace. Under 100 1 100 - 500 2 500 - 1,000 0 1,000 - 5,000 0 5,000 - 10,000 3 10,000 - 50,000 2 50,000 - 100,000 3 100,000 - 250,000 1 250,000 - 500,000 0 500,000 - 1,000,000 1 TOTAL 13 Rural 4.* = 6. Urban 9.* = 7. *Two subjects who indicated they were from urban areas (pop 6,000) were from farming fa m i l i e s and f o r the purpose of t h i s study should more c o r r e c t l y be placed the r u r a l category. Occupation of father. Blue c o l l a r 1 Farm worker 0 Farm owner 4 Tradesman 2 Business 3 Services 2 Professional 0 TOTAL 12 * One unknown, deceased. Average age of father: 64.5years. Average education of father: 3.8 grades.* * 7 fathers with less than grade 5. 4 with no formal schooling. Discounting uneducated and unknown (2) median i s grade 7. Page - 130 Occupation of mother. Housewife Domestic Business TOTAL 9 2 2 13 Average age of mother: 53. Average education of mother: 3.5 grades.* * 6 have no formal schooling, discounting uneducated median i s grade 6. Average number of brothers. 3 Average number of s i s t e r s . 2.2 Si b l i n g s . Rural average 8.75 Rural plus urban farmers average 8.67* Urban average 4 Unban minus farmers 2.7* *Two fam i l i e s l i v e d i n small urban areas (pop 6,000) but were farmers. Family status. Both parents present. Mother only present. Neither parent present Mother remarried Father remarried Father deserted Mother deserted Father deceased Mother deceased 5 5 2 1 2 3 1 5 1 * 5 subjects from i n t a c t homes. 5 subjects from s i n g l e family home. 2 subjects brought up by r e l a t i v e s . 1 subject o r i g i o n a l father and stepmother. Occupation of subject. Student M a r i t a l status. Semi s k i l l e d Farmer Tradesman Business Professional Married Unmarried TOTAL TOTAL 5 1 2 1 3 _1 13 2 11 13 Departed from. Home Elsewhere TOTAL 11 2 13 Page - 131 Average age at departure: 25.3 Year of departure. 1980 1 1981 1 1982 0 1983 0 1984 1 1985 3 1986 0 1987 3 1988 2 1989 2 Reason f o r departure. Student a c t i v i s t 3 P o l i t i c a l a c t i v i s t 2 Death threats 2 Death of r e l a t i v e s 2 Avoidance of d r a f t 2 Army deserter 1 Fleeing criminal elements 1 TOTAL 13 Means of t r a v e l . Bus 8 Train 1 Hitch hike 2 Private car 1 Walked 1 TOTAL 13 Intermediate des t i n a t i o n ( s ) . Country. Mexico United States Direct t r a v e l TOTAL 4 10 2 13 Average length of stay for a l l subjects. Average length of stay f o r i n d i r e c t t r a v e l l e r s . T otal length of journey. Average f o r a l l subjects. Average excluding d i r e c t t r a v e l l e r s 10.5 months 16 months 33 months 38.36 months Page - 132 Section 2. A r r i v a l and early experiences. A r r i v a l point i n Canada. Toronto 4 London 1 Vancouver 8 Declaration to Immigration Canada. Toronto 4 London 1 Vancouver 7 *,** Atlanta Ga. 1 * one subject did not make claim at border, at 'Albany St' Vancouver ** one subject arrested inside border and made claim under escort at the S i n c l a i r Centre. Status given. Refugee claimant 9 M i n i s t e r i a l Permit 1 Refugee status 1 Permanent residents v i s a 1 V i s i t o r s permit (1 year) 1* •subject granted refugee claimant status on expiry of v i s i t o r s permit. Yes No Later E l i g i b i l i t y f o r welfare 12 1 E l i g i b i l i t y f o r employment 8 5 4* E l i g i b i l i t y f o r education 5** 8 * A l l refugee claimants given work permits Jan. 1989. ** Only subjects who entered i n Ontario given ESL classes. Area l i v i n g i n Vancouver. Downtown Eastside. 7 Fraser. 3 Commercial. 1 Other. 2 Number of moves within Vancouver. Average 3.2 Reasons f o r moves. Problems with landlord. 2 Looking for better place. 6 Deliberate f o r anonimity. 1 Would not comment. 4 Page - 133 Number of r e l a t i v e s i n Canada on a r r i v a l . T o t a l . 8 Number of r e l a t i v e s i n Canada now. Tot a l . 11 Help received from r e l a t i v e s (%). None* * One subject received help during f i r s t month. Most help received i n f i r s t s i x months -None. 1 Relatives. *see note above Friends. 2 Government Agencies, 7 Churches/organisations. 2 Se l f . 1 i n Canada -None. 0 Language. 7 Economic. 5 Family/Cultural. 2 Adaption. 3 Immigration Status. 1 I n a b i l i t y to work. 4 Other. 5* •Police harrasment,resents being refugee claimant,misses family,unable to f i n d work,unspecified. E t h n i c i t y of Neighbours. Latino's. 11 Native Indians. 3 Europeans. 6 Chinese. 2 East Indians. 1 Page - 134 Section 3 Education and rela t e d areas. Education i n country of o r i g i n -Grade 1 - 3 . 1 Grade 4 - 6 . 1 Grade 7 - 1 0 . 7 Grade 11. 1 High School. 3 Attended college. 6 Attended tech. 2 Completed post sec. 3 Education i n Canada -None. 8 English courses. 5 Knowledge of English -Knowledge of Canada -Newspaper reading -Frequency Radio l i s t e n i n g -Frequency T e l e v i s i o n watching Frequency None 0 Some 3 Moderate 7 Fluent 3 None 3 Some 3 Moderate 4 Extensive 3 Daily 4 Language Spanish 1 Weekly 5 English 6 Monthly 2 Both 4 None 2 Regularly 9 Language Spanish 0 Seldom 3 English 10 Never 1 Other 4 Regularly 11 Language Spanish 0 Seldom 1 English 12 Never 1 Other 0 Page - 135 Section 4 Occupation and employment. Occupation Country of o r i a i n years Canada years Student 5 .5 3 .75 Semi s k i l l e d 1 (6m) .5 7 .5 Blue c o l l a r 4 (5y;ly;6m;?) 2.16 5 .75 Farm work 2 (6y;6y) 6.0 2 2.0 Trades 1 (12y) 12.0 1 .5 White c o l l a r 1 ( l l y ) 11.0 0 0 Services 1 (2y) 2.0 2 .75 Prof/Managerial 3 (4y;10y;?) 7.0 0 0 M i l i t a r y 1 (2y) 2.0 0 0 N.B. Years above r e f l e c t average years f o r the group. Unemployment -Average months during past three years 9.13 Range lm Never unemployed 2 Range 1.5y - 2.5y Never employed 3 Range 6m - 8y - 2.5y Help i n securing f i r s t job i n Canada -Relatives/Friends Self Government Agencies Other No jobs to date 3 3 1 3 3 Duration of f i r s t job 3.25 months 4.225 months * Current employment 2 Current unemployment 11 •These figu r e discounts employment. Duration 2m Range 2w - 4m Duration 8m Range lm - 2y * the three who have not obtained Page - 136 Section 5 Economic Data Current income from a l l sources No./subj ects Earnings Welfare 7 $486.00 per month Employment 6 $1608.33 per month Range $1000 - 2800 Use of public assistance 11 Duration 16m Range 2w - 8y Remittance to home 7 Average (month) $220 Range $90 - 1000 L i v i n g costs - Average Range Rent $275 $250 - $425 Food $150 $120 - $300 Clothing $100 (4) $50 - $300 Entertainment $52 (4) $20 - $200 Transportation $25 (2) $20 - $30 Other Page - 137 Section 6 B e l i e f s and orienta t i o n . Religion Catholic 5 Protestant 0 Evangelical 1 Other 2 None 5 Ferguency of church attendance Daily Weekly Monthly Rarely None 1 3 1 0 8 S a t i s f a c t i o n with l i f e i n Canada -Very s a t i s f i e d 12 S a t i s f i e d 1 Not s a t i s f i e d 0 Plan to become a Canadian C i t i z e n -Yes 12 No 0 Undecided 1 Opportunities to int e r a c t with Anglo/Canadians -Many 6 Source -Some 3 Work 5 None 4 Church 2 Experiences of discrimination -Many 4 Source -Some 3 p o l i c e 1 None 6 stores 1 Employment opportunities -Many 3 some 7 None 3 Relations with landlords -Pos i t i v e 9 Satisfactory 2 Negative 2 Relations with Government O f f i c i a l s (Employment/Immigration) Po s i t i v e 8 Satisfactory 3 Negative 2 Relations with Law Enforcement Agencies -Pos i t i v e 6 Satisfactory 2 Negative 5 Relations with R e l i e f Agencies -Po s i t i v e 7 Satisfactory 3 Negative 2 None 1 Relations with Employers -Pos i t i v e 5 Satisfactory 3 Negative 2 None 3 Page - 138 Relations with other Latins -P o s i t i v e 10 Satisfactory 1 Negative 2 Relations with non-Latin street people 7 3 3 Po s i t i v e Satisfactory Negative Relations with women -Po s i t i v e 6 Satisfactory 4 Negative 2 None (unavailable) 1 A b i l i t y to cope with mood-altering substance Po s i t i v e 4 Alcohol Satisfactory 2 Drugs Negative 7 8 3 Other problems -Yes No 9 4 Page - 139 

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