Canada aims to curb number of migrant children held in detention

June 21, 2018

By Benjamin Shingler, CBC News |

While ‘obviously already better than the American system,’ practices here could be better, Ralph Goodale says

The Canadian government is taking steps to further reduce the number of migrant children and families held in detention centres, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says.

“The numbers are low in Canada, but they are getting lower,” Goodale told CBC News.

“We’re working very hard to make sure that our system is as secure as it needs to be, but also humane and compassionate.”

Goodale said Canada’s handling of asylum seekers is “obviously already better than the American system,” but he acknowledged it could be improved.

Human rights advocates have for years called on Canada to eliminate its practice of holding asylum seekers in detention centres, which are surrounded by barbed wire and resemble medium-security prisons.

A total of 595 minors have been detained at Canadian immigration holding centres in the past three years. Of those, 43 were unaccompanied by an adult, according to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).

U.S. policy ‘heart-wrenching’
The U.S. adopted a policy in April of separating children from their parents after illegally crossing from Mexico. More than 2,000 children were affected.

President Donald Trump abruptly reversed the policy Wednesday in the face of intense international pressure.

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