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  • Shelters for UASC in Toronto, Canada
  • Canada
  • In CANADA, the Red Cross First Contact Program was first established by the Canadian Red Cross - Toronto Region in partnership with the City of Toronto’s Refugee Housing Task Group. It has since expanded to other parts of Canada. This supportive programme for asylum-seekers also facilitates, in the Greater Toronto area, the release and referral of UASC of 16-17 years of age to shelters. Following an agreement with the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA), when an UASC arrives at an airport, the Red Cross is contacted by CBSA; and the First Contact Project locates a suitable shelter within the city that provides appropriate services for children.

    Also at that point, CBSA contacts McCarthy Tetrault, an international law firm to request interest to act as a “designated representative” for the UASC at the port of entry examination. This proposed designated representative programme was established by UNHCR in co-ordination with CBSA, the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), the Red Cross, the Peel Children Aid’s Society and McCarthy Tetrault. The designated representative is subsequently appointed to the child by the IRB and is responsible for protecting the interests of the child at IRB procedures, as well as explaining the asylum process to them. The designated representative has to decide whether to retain counsel and, if counsel is retained, instruct him/her or assist the child to instruct counsel.

    A drop-in centre where refugees can access services and obtain information as well as a 24-hour emergency telephone service is also run by the Canadian Red Cross, allowing children, asylum-seekers and refugees already on the territory, to contact them at any time. The Project operates 7 days a week and allows new UASC seeking asylum in the city of Toronto to find immediate shelter upon arrival.
  • Practice
  • Minimum Standards
  • Legal advice and interpretation
  • Asylum seekers
  • Unaccompanied and Separated Children
  • Legal aid for people in immigration detention in the United States
  • United States of America
  • The Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project, Arizona. Since 1989, this nongovernmental agency has been permitted entry to immigration detention facilities (Florence INS Service Processing Center) to give daily legal rights presentations to between 20-40 detainees at a time prior to their first hearing before an Immigration Judge. The presentations assist detainees in evaluating whether to go forward with their case, increasing the efficiency of the immigration court process and reducing the overall costs of detention. The group orientations are followed by individual interviews with those who request them. The Project also provides instructions for writing supporting/bond letters for parole hearings and directly represents a portion of those applicants at their bond hearings. In 1998, based on the success of the Florence Project, the US government (administered via EOIR) funded legal orientation projects in three different sites, with three different agencies, for three months each. The Department of Justice’s findings from these pilot projects were that providing such rights information to immigration detainees made the immigration proceedings more efficient and reduced overall bed days in detention by 4.2 days per detainee. Such legal orientations have now been funded nationwide. At an estimated cost of detention of $65.61 per day, such orientations should lead to a $12.8 million saving. If the legal orientations cost $2.8 million, the government will still save $10 million
  • Practice
  • Minimum Standards
  • Legal advice and interpretation
  • Migrants
  • All