Last week, a 30-year-old black American man named Kyle L. Canty stood before Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) and begged officials in Vancouver to grant him protected person status and asylum in their country.
Canty says he has lived in seven different states and claims he has been harassed and targeted by police in every one of them.
“I’m in fear of my life because I’m black,” Canty told the Canada Immigration and Refugee Board during his hearing. “This is a well-founded fear,” he added.
The 30-year-old New York native presented the IRB with edited videos of his encounters with police, some of which have ended with Canty’s arrest.
“I got bothered because I’m black,” Canty said, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “This is a history of false arrest. My name is ruined because of the false arrest.”
Canty did, however, admit to the IRB that he has several outstanding charges in multiple states for crimes ranging from disorderly conduct to issuing threats to resisting arrest. And Canty made it clear that he doesn’t plan to return to the U.S. to fight those charges.
Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board approves about ten U.S. citizens for asylum each year. There were only three approvals granted in 2013.
Canty’s case is not entirely unique. Some immigration lawyers in the U.S. are encouraging black people to apply for protected status.
If he is rejected for permanent Canadian residency, Canty plans to appeal.