Safe Third Country Agreement News

The government said repealing the agreement would result in an “influx” of asylum seekers at the border, making it more difficult for different levels of government to maintain the existing refugee system, including the provision of housing and other social services. Specifically, the legislation requires that the review of a designated country be based on the following four factors: under the Safe Third Country Agreement, in force since December 2004, Canada and the United States declare the other country safe for refugees and close the door to most refugee claimants at the U.S.-Canada border. Following the release of the judgment, the public interest parties involved in the case quickly asked the federal government not to appeal the court decision and to stop returning people to the United States as part of the agreement. Canadian refugee supporters have strongly opposed the deal, arguing that the U.S. is not always a safe country for people fleeing persecution. The agreement does not apply to the United States. Ordinary citizens or residents of the United States who are not nationals of a country (“stateless”). The Canadian Council for Refugees strongly opposes the agreement because the United States is not a safe country for all refugees. The CCR also condemns the objective and impact of reducing the number of refugees who may seek refuge in Canada. “Canada has a long and proud tradition of protecting those who need it most by providing refuge to the world`s most vulnerable people, and the Canadian Government remains firmly committed to maintaining a compassionate, fair and orderly refugee protection system. The STCA remains a comprehensive instrument to achieve this, based on the principle that people should seek asylum in the first safe country they arrive in. Canada continues to actively engage with the United States with respect to the ATS and ensures that this agreement reflects our commitment to our international commitments, while continuing to cooperate in the management of our shared border. In his statement, Blair said the deal with the UNITED States “remains a complete vehicle” to maintain a compassionate, fair and orderly refugee protection system, based on the principle that people should seek asylum in the first safe country they arrive in. The CCR continues to call on the Canadian government to withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement.

The CCR participated in a legal challenge to deportation from the United States as a safe third country shortly after it went into effect. The Federal Court ruled that the United States is not a safe third country, but the decision was overturned on appeal for technical reasons (see here for more information). For all other countries that may be designated as safe third countries in the future, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requires a continuous review of all countries designated as safe third countries. The review procedure aims to ensure that the conditions that led to expulsion as a safe third country remain met. The federal government has won a partial victory against a court order that removes a bilateral pact preventing asylum seekers from asserting a right in that country through the United States. Canada “continues to actively engage” with Washington in the refugee compact and ensures that the agreement reflects Canada`s commitment to its international obligations “while continuing to corate how we manage our shared border,” he added. . . .

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