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Abstract

Over the past sixty-five years, Canada’s official attitude towards queer immigration has undergone dramatic changes, from overt exclusion to ostensible welcome. However, discretionary decision-making has remained a constant component of the evolving immigration frameworks affecting queer immigrants, with negative repercussions for queer applicants. From 1952 to 2017, queer immigration to Canada has been plagued by arbitrariness, unaccountability, unpredictability, and administrative scope for discriminatory exercises of discretion by decision-makers, resulting in harms that range from stress and vulnerability to unjust exclusion. In charting future courses to improve immigration outcomes for queer applicants and refugee claimants who seek to join us on Indigenous lands, care should be taken to strike the right balance between making it easier for individuals to fit into the categorical boxes that will allow them to join us in ‘being here to stay’, and questioning the categories, arbitrary geopolitical lines, and presumptions about legitimate decision-making authority on which Canada’s immigration system currently rests.

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