It has been nearly two months since he crossed the border into Canada, fleeing the discrimination and state violence plaguing his home country.
In seeking refugee status before Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board in Vancouver, Kyle Lydell Canty argued that belongs to a vulnerable minority that is “being exterminated at an alarming rate” in his homeland.
Canty was referring to the United States and police brutality.
“I’m in fear of my life because I’m black,” Canty, 30, told the board during his hearing on Oct. 23, where he cited the killings of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York. “This is a well-founded fear.”
Canty, who was born in New York, has resided in six states over the span of three decades. He traveled to Vancouver early last month as a tourist, but says he decided to apply for refugee status shortly after his arrival. He now resides at a homeless shelter.“When I see the police coming in the U.S., I cross the street,” he said.
In presenting his case before the IRB, Canty submitted evidence that he claims demonstrates that cops have harassed and profiled him in every state he’s lived in.
“I got bothered because I’m black,” he alleges. “This is a history of false arrest. My name is ruined because of the false arrest.”
In Canada, however, Canty says he does not perceive any existential threat from law enforcement and that he is more than comfortable interacting with Canadian authorities.
During his hearing, Canty also discussed his outstanding criminal charges in the U.S., including ones for disorderly conduct, issuing threats, and resisting arrest.Melissa Anderson, the IRB spokeswoman for this case, told The Daily Beast that a decision regarding Canty’s application would likely be issued within the next few weeks. When asked if she would characterize this as an unusual case, Anderson demurred, but said that she is “not aware of any” other cases like this in Canada, but couldn’t be sure.“For us, every case is unique,” she said. “Refugee protection and refugee discrimination, this is a complex issue.”Canada has accepted American refugees before. In 2013, three U.S. citizens were granted asylum, for instance. In 2010, actor Randy Quaid applied for refugee status, claiming he was being persecuted and possibly marked for death by “Hollywood star whacker” assassins. (He later withdrew his claim.)