Safe Country of Origin: Constructing the Irregularity of Asylum Seekers in Canada
This article discusses the role of Canada’s Designated Country of Origin (DCO) policy in the illegalization of asylum seekers. The policy allows the government to designate countries in which it is presumed that citizens do not face risks of persecution, torture, or similar abuse. Refugee claimants from DCOs are thus subject to accelerated processing timelines with reduced rights. Canada has implemented the policy as a way to deal with a backlog of asylum applications, increase efﬁciency, and exclude fraudulent refugee claims. Based on a primary ﬁeld research conducted between October 2015 and May 2017 in three provinces, Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia, this article argues that the DCO policy is likely to have the unintended effect of shifting asylum seekers into an irregular status.