The Making (and unmaking) of Medical Inadmissibility

If the late Stephen Hawking had wanted to settle in Canada, he would likely have been denied. This is because he was disabled. Federal immigration law excludes people with chronic illness and developmental or genetic difference from permanently settling on health grounds, referred to as medical inadmissibility, with some exceptions. Medical inadmissibility is a state decision-making process involving official practices organized to detect, diagnose, and exclude such persons because of assumptions made about them. Rhetorically, the immigration system is understood to enable immigrants to create a good life in Canada. Elided from this interpretation, however, are the lives that people lead after they are rejected for residency, or what their lives end up being about. In this project, the focus is on people’s return to and readjustment in their home country or another country.