The Detention of Migrant Children and Families in Canada: Advocacy, Policy and Lived Experience

The Detention of Migrant Children and Families in Canada: Advocacy, Policy and Lived Experience

The Detention of Migrant Children and Families in Canada: Advocacy, Policy and Lived Experience

The Detention of Migrant Children and Families in Canada: Advocacy, Policy and Lived Experiences

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Référence bibliographique [12893]

Kronick, Rachel. 2014. «The Detention of Migrant Children and Families in Canada: Advocacy, Policy and Lived Experience». Mémoire de maîtrise, Montréal, Université McGill, Département de psychiatrie.

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Fiche synthèse

1. Objectifs


Intentions :
«This thesis examines the practise of detaining migrant children in Canada through the lenses of advocacy, legislation and lived experiences’ of detainees.» (p. 3) «In chapter one, I present a manuscript describing legislation proposed in 2011 that would impose mandatory detention of one year for asylum seekers designated by the minister. […] Chapter two critically examines a shift occurring in legislation drafted in 2012 that excludes children under 16 from mandatory detention. […] Chapter three presents the findings of a qualitative study investigating the lived experiences of migrant children and parents who have undergone detention in Canada.» (p. 6-7)

Questions/Hypothèses :
«In [the second] study we ask: what are the discursive strategies used to justify or oppose the detention of asylum seeking children in the debates on Bill C-4 and C-31 in the Canadian parliament? What processes of negotiation within the discourse might have influenced the legislative shift to exclude children younger than 16 from detention? Specifically, how are concepts of rights and humanitarianism deployed? Within these discourses how are children situated? And what do these constructions mean for migrant children, asylum seekers and those advocating on their behalf?» (p. 21-22) In the third study, «our investigation asked: what are the lived experiences of detained asylum-seeking children and how do they make sense of these experiences? Within this broader question we were interested particularly in i) the daily practices within IHCs [Immigration Holding Centres] and how they were experienced by children and their parents, ii) the perceived impact of detention on children and on the family system, iii) children’s experiences of family separation precipitated by detention and iv) how children and their parents integrate the experience of detention in relation to narratives of past trauma and of their future hopes in Canada.» (p. 62)

2. Méthode


Échantillon/Matériau :
«Our [second] study uses a methodology of discourse analysis. […] We chose to look at the House of Commons (Parliament of Canada) readings since these were the debates that produced the legislation and the changes therein. We use other texts, such as those produced by NGOs [non-governmental organisation] and physicians to contextualize the parliamentary readings.» (p. 22) In the third study, «[t]wenty families’ cases, recruited between 2011 and 2012, were included in our analysis.» (p. 66)

Instruments :
Guide d’entretien semi-directif

Type de traitement des données :
Analyse de contenu

3. Résumé


In the first chapter, «[t]he commentary speaks to the research evidence that detention is detrimental to children’s health and well-being, and to Canada’s obligations to protect the best interests of the Child under the UN [United Nations] Convention on the Rights of the Child. […] Ultimately this commentary urges stakeholders, particularly health professionals, to advocate on behalf of children as a vulnerable group. [In chapter two,] results suggest that parliamentarians invoke logics of human rights and humanitarianism and that a reconfiguration of these paradigms places the State rather than the refugee in need of protection. Within this discourse children are rendered so vulnerable as to be voiceless, enforcing the corollary image of the threatening adult refugee, which ultimately allows detention to be framed as a protective measure. […] This [third] paper delineates how children respond to detention as well as examining conditions in detention centres for families. The results demonstrate that detention is a highly stressful and often traumatizing experience for children and their families. Taken together, the three papers illuminate the practises of detention in Canada from the perspective of different stake-holders: the children and their parents, the federal government and health care professionals.» (p. 6-7)