Thursday, July 23, 2020

Canadian Sanctuary for Asylum Seekers

Canada’s federal court has ruled that a pact with Washington which prevents migrants from seeking asylum when they attempt to enter the country from the US is invalid because it violates their human rights.

Under the so-called Safe Third Country Agreement between the two neighbors, asylum seekers at a formal border crossing traveling in either direction are turned back and told to apply for asylum in the country they first arrived in. Lawyers for refugees who had been turned away at the Canadian border challenged the agreement, saying the United States does not qualify as a “safe” country under Donald Trump.

More than 50,000 people have illegally crossed the Canada-US border to file refugee claims over the past four years, with some walking through waist-deep snow and fording icy rivers. Canada sought to stem the number of asylum seekers that flowed into the country starting in 2016, after Trump promised to crack down on illegal immigration into the US. 

Federal court judge Ann Marie McDonald ruled that the agreement was in violation of a section of Canada’s charter of rights that says laws or state actions that interfere with life, liberty and security must conform to the principles of fundamental justice.

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