Author: Jamie Chai Yun Liew, LLM 2011
Abstract: The paper is about a Canadian immigration rule that permanently prohibits the reuniting of children with their parents in Canada simply because their landed immigrant parents did not list their children on their application forms.
This paper is interested in how violence can manifest itself in the strict application of rules. In particular, the paper questions the value of both having strict rules, and applying the rule in a firm manner. The stringent application of rules can illuminate what we value normatively; it expresses an adherence to rule-based decision making that takes no interest in the context into which people conduct their lives. The paper argues that when we apply rules strictly, we engage in making overbroad generalizations to make decisions in an easier fashion but we do so at the expense of making fair, just and reasonable decisions. In choosing to use a broad generalization to make decisions, the state, in this particular case, is tipping the balance to give more weight to its interests of protecting our borders from fraud than providing a just and fair process for families to reunite in Canada.
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