Canada has deported almost 2,000 North Korean asylum seekers in the last five years because of allegedly providing false information on their refugee forms. At the moment, Canada is poised to deport another 150 North Koreans, Al Jazeera reports.
Taegun Kim, who arrived in Canada 11 years ago with his wife and family, is on the deportation list. The couple has had two more children since they left North Korea — they are Canadian citizens. But the family will be split asunder if Kim and the members of his family not born in Canada are sent back.
“That notice means death to me,” Kim told Al Jazeera News. “I came all the way here for a better life and my family is well adjusted to life in Canada. To think we’re going to be separated, it breaks my heart.”
Canadian Prime Minister, who assumed office in 2015, famously tweeted “welcome” to refugees.
Although the North Koreans are being sent back to South Korea, the refugees say it is no safe haven as the North Korean regime sends agents to seek out returning defectors and punishes family members still remaining in the north. Deportation merely raises the profile of these defectors.
“If we’re found by the North Korean government, our family left in North Korea will be executed or sent to a labour camp,” Kim said.
The potential deportees are represented by immigration attorney Jacqueline An, who is asking Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to let the North Koreans remain in Canada.
“Internationally we are recognised as a humanitarian and compassionate country, accepting refugees from Syria and all over the world. And why should these 150 remaining people be sent back?” An told Al Jazeera.