This article builds upon existing critiques of Canada’s immigration system by focusing on the medical inadmissibility of young people labelled with intellectual disabilities. In considering how the Canadian state regulates applications for permanent residency, it explores discourses and practices of citizenship which invoke mutually-constituting identity markers such as disability and race. A close reading of case studies involving family applicants, demonstrates how immigration policies and legal systems frame the needs of young people labelled with intellectual or ‘profound’ disabilities as a burden to Canadian society. Individuals who were initially denied admission to Canada due to their diagnostic label, experience disability-related discrimination in different ways depending on the role of their perceived racial, gender, and class identities, among others. The individuals considered in this study navigate intersectional identities and ableist legal systems in their efforts to resist discrimination and win a review of their residency applications. This analysis will show that applicants are forced to work through the logic of medical assessment processes to favourably position their children within impairment hierarchies which rank intellectual disability as ‘too disabled’ to be admissible.
Disability & the Global South (DGS), 2016, Vol. 3 No. 2