When Halima Alari (an alias to protect her identity) came to Canada as a refugee she never thought she be asked to justify why she was alive.
She was wrong.
After explaining she want to come to Canada to escape her abusive husband, Alari was stunned by the judge’s question.
“If he really wants you to be gone, “Why doesn’t he just kill you?” Immigration and Refugee Board judge Yonatan Rozenszajn repeatedly asked Halima Alari during her refugee hearing.
How do you answer such a moronic question?
Yonatan Rozenszajn took Alari’s stunned silence as evidence she was guilty of lying to him, so he denied her refugee application.
“I do not believe what she says,” Rozenszajn wrote in his final decision.
Complete Lack of Common Sense
Rozenszajn is a lawyer. He graduated from the University of Windsor Faculty of Law.
He clerked for Justice Michael Kelen, a Federal Court judge in Ottawa.
Despite all that education and training, it appears, Yonatan Rozenszajn still cannot grasp the legal concept of innocent until proven guilty.
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada’s https://irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/legal-policy/policies/Pages/GuideDir04.aspx are designed to safeguard hearings like Alari’s.
In this case, Yonatan Rozenszajn grossly abused his power and violated those guidelines, wrote Jennifer Pollock in her Notice of Decision in Alari’s appeal.
 After listening to the entire Refugee Protection Division (RPD) hearing audio-recording and independently assessing all of the evidence, I find that the RDP Member erred by breaching procedural fairness and violating the Gender Guidelines. I further find that he erred in his overall credibility finding. These errors are fatal to the RPD decision.
 The Appellants argue that the RDP Member breached procedural fairness by asking questions contrary to the Gender Guidelines. I agree.
“Why wouldn’t he just kill you then? Why spend all these years, just like, harassing you?”
“Okay, but like, look. 2013 to 2017 6o 2018, you don’t live together really. Right. So why does he keep harassing you? If he really wants you to be gone, why doesn’t he just kill you?
 These questions demonstrate a lack of attention to the Principal Appellant’s gender and “to the factors which may influence the testimony of women who have been the victims of persecution.”
 The Principal Appellant should never have been asked why her ex-husband did not “just kill” her. The fact that she was asked such a question is unacceptable. The RDP Member’s insensitive, retraumatizing, and procedurally unfair line of questioning constitutes a serious error.
There’s an understatement.
Yonatan Rozenszajn’s bizarre questioning of Nigernian refugee Halima Alari is all the more puzzling given he is an immigrant himself. Along with his family, Yonatan Rozenszajn immigrated from Israel in 1999 and settled in St. Catharines, Ontario.
Former Political Candidate
Yonatan Rozenszajn is a former Conservative Party candidate in the Ontario riding of Hamilton Centre, where he placed a distant third in the 2015 Federal Election.
NDP incumbent David Christopherson earned more than three times Rozenszajn’s paltry 6,018 votes to win the riding for the fifth time.
Can you imagine the results if Yonatan Rozenszajn won the 2015 election and sat in the House of Commons?
Thank God we were spared from that nightmare.
James Kurz says
Something does not make sense in this story. Is escape from an ex-husband’s harrassment grounds for immigration? Well if he were trying to kill her it might. But what about the local authorities? What about the woman’s family and friends? What has “innocent until proven guilty even have to do with it? This woman needs to prove her need to immigrate as a refugee or why she will be an asset to Canada. Will she get an education, a career and attempt to serve her adopted country? The judge asking why she wasn’t killed perhaps is defining the line between a
deserving immigrant and an economic immigrant. Of course we readers have only the bare bones of the story and possibly not all the important facts. Thank goodness for Democracy.
Albert Curtis says
I think James Kurtz is right. Are you a refugee if your spouse (who we assume isn’t a government official, bringing to bear the power of the state) wants to kill you?
I get why people want to come to Canada, I really do and I can see how the judge”s questions could be “insensitive”;but, I can also see how the line of questioning could be relevant to the question of whether or not admitting this person (and potentially her family, including the allegedly murderous spouse, is in Canada’s interest.