Will Tao, a lawyer operating out of Vancouver, recently published a new paper that encouraged for indigenous and intersectional presence in the Canadian immigration system.
The 32-page paper, submitted by Tao to the Immigration Section of the Canadian Bar Association, detailed the story of a Chinese grandmother and permanent resident. Said lady had been in the country for 15 years, but spoke no English and was set to be deported by the government.
According to the paper, the grandmother was the caregiver for her granddaughter, her daughter busy generating income to provide financial support.
Tao was called on to defend the grandmother, to which he argued that deporting her would expose the granddaughter to financial hardship while also removing the child’s primary caregiver. His issue was that he couldn’t directly relate to the grandmother’s issues. In spite of speaking the same mother-tongue, Tao lamented, that he couldn’t put himself into her shoes.
Following that case, Tao wrote the paper, which also noted how much there is to learn regarding Canada’s less-than-stellar history with indigenous people and immigrants, something that has been getting a lot of attention from law firms like Donich Law and legislative bodies. The 32-page paper won him the Founders’ Award from the Canadian Bar Association Immigration Law Section, which he then later published in his blog.
Tao talked about the issues of intersectionality, racism, and Indigenous approaches to Canada’s immigration legislation, and added that a finer grasp of such topics for the system would lead to better court proceedings and acknowledge the well-documented resilience of immigrants.
The award-winning lawyer stated that it’s important for Indigenous communities to receive resources, as well as legal representation through the legal processes, noting that the immigration processes occasionally come across as ‘continued colonization’.
He argued that Canada was making good steps for diversity in the mid-19th century, in spite of discrimination. The problem, Tao believes, was the racist clampdown that came in the 19th and early 20th centuries, when exclusionary immigration laws, head taxes, land grant restrictions, and the Indian Act came into effect.
On the topic of reconciliation, something that has been getting a lot of focus for legal firms like Donich Law and the legislative body at large, Tao says that the way Canadian immigration law tests right now don’t work to that end, being assimilative and patriarchal.