Migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can now only challenge their detentions through an immigration tribunal, whose decisions are subject to only limited judicial review. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Supreme Court to rule on migrant detainees’ rights to challenge incarceration

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court is to rule today on whether immigration detainees have the right to challenge their detentions in person before judges.

Migrants who do not hold Canadian citizenship can now only challenge their detentions through an immigration tribunal, whose decisions are subject to only limited judicial review.

The case centres on a Pakistani man, Tusif Ur Rehman Chhina, who was granted refugee protection in Canada in 2006, but was later detained after authorities learned he had a criminal record.

He failed in 12 attempts to the Immigration and Review Board to be released and was eventually deported to Pakistan, but his lawyers have continued to pursue the case.

The federal government argued that extending the right to direct hearings before judges to migrant detainees would create uncertainty in the legal processes involving these decisions.

The Justice Department has argued that the current system offers a comprehensive and expert process by an independent, quasi-judicial board that provides a meaningful review.

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