Law schools help those affected by Muslim travel ban
Published Monday, February 6, 2017 8:17PM EST
Last Updated Monday, February 6, 2017 8:18PM EST
Universities in Canada are working to help people who could be affected by the U.S. travel ban that targets Muslims.
Students from all 22 of Canada's law schools took part in a ‘research-a-thon’ across the country over the weekend.
As many as 800 Canadian law students signed up.
“We had students messaging us from Harvard, all across the States being like, ‘Wow, what you are doing is amazing.’ How they could help,” said one of the event’s organizers, Rachelle Bastarache, who is a third-year law student at McGill.
The students looked at the Trump travel ban and focused on potential legal arguments against the Canada-U.S Safe Third Country agreement.
The 2004 agreement assumed both nations were equally open to refugees, but many argue is no longer true.
“Combined, we had over 3,000 hours of research. It was really a way for students who maybe came into their law degree hoping to change the way justice was done,” said Bastarache.
The students also set up a fundraising page for the Canadian Council for Refugees with a goal to raise $10,000. They have already raised $8000.
Meantime, McGill and University of Toronto are also re-opening the admission process for graduate studies in law and offering to help law students already in the U.S. complete their masters and doctoral degrees.
So far, McGill has had 11 responses and despite Friday's lifting of the travel ban, six people are applying.
“They're all from Iran which makes sense to use because out of the seven countries, it's a country that regularly supplies students. They have very good law schools,” said Richard Gold of the McGill Law Faculty.
Concordia University, too, has extended its undergraduate applications until March 1.
The university now has 1,600 students potentially affected by the U.S. travel ban, and most are from Iran.
The university has also seen an increase in interest in potential students and faculty from the U.S. and Mexico.
“I think just there’s a level of the uncertainty. Even if the ban is struck down, there's a fear there’ll be another one,” said Gold. “There's also a fear that the ban will be extended to other countries like Pakistan or Sri Lanka, also countries that supply us with students. So if you're a Muslim student in the world, would you take the chance of putting all your eggs in the U.S. basket or would you want to look for alternatives?”