Common wisdom suggests that the 9/11 terrorist attacks changed everything about the character of refugee law in the United States and in neighbouring Canada. But did they? If so, how do the responses of the two countries compare in terms of their negative impacts on refugee rights? Refugee Law after 9/11 undertakes a systematic examination of available legal, policy, and empirical evidence to reveal a great irony: refugee rights were already so whittled down in both countries before 9/11 that there was relatively little room for negative change after the attacks. It also shows that the Canadian refugee law regime reacted to 9/11 in much the same way as its US counterpart, and these similar reactions raise significant questions about security relativism and the cogency of Canadian and US national self-image.
Introduction: Refugee Law after 9/11: A Canada-US Comparison
1 Deportations to Torture
2 The Detention of Asylum Seekers and Refugees
3 Terrorism-Related Inadmissibility
4 The Canada-US Safe Third Country Measure
Conclusion: Refugee Law, Security Relativism, and National Self-Image in Canada and the US after 9/11
Obiora Chinedu Okafor is York Research Chair in International and Transnational Legal Studies (Tier 1) and a professor of law at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto. He is the United Nations Independent Expert on Human Rights and International Solidarity and a former chair of the UN Human Rights Council Advisory Committee. He is also the author of The African Human Rights System, Activist Forces and International Institutions; Legitimizing Human Rights NGOs: Lessons from Nigeria; Re-defining Legitimate Statehood: International Law and State Fragmentation in Africa; and dozens of other scholarly works.