Issue number 46 of Cannabis Culture magazine contains an inspiring article about a reefer refugee who gives up everything to move to Canada. Before the article was published, many readers had contacted Cannabis Culture to ask about moving to Canada. Here is some general information that can help you move to Canada.
We are not advising you to break immigration laws, but this information is generally available in the public domain, and the war on marijuana users (along with other US government actions) has created a human rights crisis in the USA, so we feel it is our humanitarian duty to provide the following data:
If you decide to cross into Canada as a refugee:
* Apply at any Canadian border crossing. You can also apply from within Canada. Visit the Canadian government’s Immigration website, www.cic.gc.ca for more information about immigration and citizenship. Also visit www.irb.gc.ca, which will give you information about procedures used by the Immigration Review Board that will examine your refugee claim.
* You will be asked why you consider yourself to be a refugee, and you will be required to fill out several forms and submit to a physician’s exam. You have to provide a credible story that indicates you face persecution in your home country. You can also qualify for legal immigration status if you are a student, if you have skills that Canadian citizens don’t have, or if you have close relatives who are Canadian citizens.
* In Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and British Columbia, you might be able to get immigration-related assistance from Legal Aid, and you can also get assistance from other organizations that assist immigrants. In other provinces, there is no Legal Aid, but there are often organizations that assist immigrants.
* If you have the money, hire an immigration lawyer. It is extremely important to have a skilled immigration lawyer, because the Canadian government is very much against American reefer refugees coming to Canada. The Canadian economy is in deep trouble, and the country is experiencing political, environmental and economic turbulence that makes it less welcoming to immigrants than it was when it welcomed American war resistors during the Vietnam War.
Choosing the right attorney is key. According to expert immigration attorney Alex Stojicevic, who has represented famous reefer refugees like Steve and Michele Kubby, there are too many “hack” immigration attorneys who will take your money but who do not know the laws, the judges, or the system well enough. Stojicevic has a great track record, and is the attorney that most people “in the know” turn to when they want to get the best attorney possible. You can reach Stocjicevic via phone 604 632 0188, or via email at [email protected].
* If you lose your initial claim for refugee status, or if you have problems relating to other types of immigration and citizenship applications, you can ask for reviews of the decision. If those reviews come back with a negative determination, you can file a “Humanitarian and Compassionate” status application. You can be removed from Canada while this is pending. If you lose at all levels, you must leave Canada for 90 days before returning to make a new claim.
* If you lose one claim, it is unlikely that a second claim will be approved.
If you decide to sneak across the border rather than applying as a refugee or entering by other legal means:
* be prepared to hike, ski, tunnel or otherwise travel clandestinely into Canada. It will be a long, hard trip, and you should be in prime mental, emotional and physical condition before you embark.
* consider hiring an “immigrant smuggler,” but be advised that these people are often unsavory, costly and dangerous.
* scout out border geography, seasonal variations, and other practical factors, and anonymously query people via the Internet and other methods to find out what sections of the border are least likely to be patrolled and/or remote-monitored.
* be aware that border security has been heightened and that you can face serious charges if you are caught trying to enter illegally.
* Know that if you enter Canada illegally or legally for the purpose of living in Canada permanently, that you are likely to never again see friends or family in the United States. You will leave all that you know, and one of millions of refugees around the world who leave a place that used to be home with only what they can carry on their back, looking behind them at the ruins of a life that has been destroyed by the forces of unjust war and fascism.