By The Canadian Press on February 2, 2024.
VANCOUVER – A Federal Court judge has set aside a decision to grant refugee status to an American transgender woman, sending her application back for redetermination.
In a decision released this week, the judge says the Immigration and Refugee Board’s appeal division made “reviewable errors” and an unreasonable decision to allow the application by the woman who moved from Colorado to Canada in 2019.
The woman says she fears transphobic persecution by U.S. society and individuals including an ex-roommate who menaced her with a gun, her former landlord, and a debt collection agency.
Her application for refugee status was initially denied in 2019, then approved on appeal in 2021, before the Canadian government sought a judicial review.
In her ruling, Justice Christine Pallotta says the appeal panel erred by requiring “perfect state protection” from the U.S., instead of adequate protection.
The judge sent the woman’s case back for consideration by a different panel of the refugee board’s appeal division.
Pallotta says the original appeal panel’s finding that the woman wouldn’t get state protection from the U.S. regarding how police handled her complaints of stalking against her ex-roommate were “contrary to the evidence.”
The appeal panel had said of the original rejection of refugee status that it “failed to consider” how open-carry gun laws in Colorado coupled with “the general climate of anti-trans hatred” in America could make the woman “perpetually vulnerable and at risk.”
But Pallotta said that refugee claimants have a “heavy burden” in arguing that a democratic country like the U.S. is incapable of protecting its own citizens.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 2, 2024.