It was just me and a hearing officer, a “member” of the Immigration and Refugee Board. Decision was “reserved”, meaning the matter will be under consideration until a written decision is issued.
I have no idea what the decision will be. I would anticipate it will not issue for two months or more.
There is some follow up work I have to do pertaining to some of the relevant issues. The focus is primarily on whether there is “adequate state protection” in my home country. Quite understandably, a refugee claim is subject to the objection that your own country is willing and able to address the problems you cite, and you have to demonstrate not only that this isn’t so, but that there is no place within the country to which you can escape. Put another way, you must avail yourself of any available refuge in your own country before you ask another country.
It might be a sufficient answer to this objection that when you are dealing with public officials who use the processes of the government to carry out and conceal human rights abuses and crimes against humanity; and when the country itself holds that any process or public act by one governmental entity in one jurisdiction is entitled to “full faith and credit” in every other jurisdiction, then if you are a potential target of those officials your only recourse is to leave the country. Certainly, I think that argument is available here and has been made. But it never hurts to have more arguments, and there are some. And there is also a high burden to establish that such a situation can exist in the United States, which is regarded by its allies – including Canada – as being generally incapable of such things.
I could say a lot more but I think it would be imprudent. I’m going to do the required work as best I can and see what happens, which is more or less what I have been doing for the last seven years.
I did mention at one point that the United States, having been born in violent revolution, may be prone to political excesses; and that Canada, having a different history in that regard, has occasionally served as a check on those excesses in a neighborly way. So there. That’s another argument.
In any case, I’m in limbo for now.