In November 2019, United States lawmakers were presented with a new regulation allowing the U.S. to send asylum seekers to other countries that have agreed to accept them. The Trump Administration has made it well-known that they are going to crack down on those seeking to enter the country for asylum, specifically at the southern border.
Canadian refugee advocates are now watching to find out if this action will increase the number of people crossing the Canada-United States border. If you are seeking asylum in Canada or have other immigration concerns, be sure to call a Mississauga immigration lawyer.
The Safe Third Country Agreement
The Safe Third Country Agreement is a bilateral agreement between Canada and the U.S. Although not yet finalized, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras have agreed to similar asylum pacts with the U.S. in the past months. A spokeswoman from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security says the Guatemalan agreement will soon be signed and implemented, making way for similar agreements with additional countries.
Previously, U.S. officials stated that those seeking asylum should do so in the first country they come to that is safe or where they are unlikely to be persecuted. Many asylum seekers do cross several countries before reaching the U.S. border. With the new regulation in place, these people can be sent to other countries with signed agreements even if they did not travel through those countries to reach the U.S.
“Sinister” is what Amnesty International Canada secretary-general Alex Neve calls the agreements. However, he said he is unsure how these policies will impact Canada at this point in time.
The Safe Third Country Agreement mandates that asylum seekers make their refugee claims in the first safe country they arrive in. Asylum seekers who come into Canada at an official crossing are sent back to the U.S. Currently, those who enter at unofficial crossings are not covered in this agreement. However, if the Canadian government gets their way, this agreement will be changed, and anyone who comes from the U.S. at any location along the border can be immediately deported.
Since 2017, over 52,000 asylum seekers have come to Canada at unofficial crossings. This number is decreasing as only about 4,000 people crossed between April and June of 2019.
The Future of Asylum Seekers in Canada
The United Nations High Commission for Refugees says that it has “serious concerns” about the U.S. asylum seeker policy. They also claim that they had no role in negotiating any of the bilateral pacts between the United States and the Central American countries.
Refugee lawyer Lorne Waldman said he doesn’t think the change will have much of an impact on people coming from the United States into Canada. He believes these asylum seekers are people who have been in the U.S. for a while and are avoiding deportation or who are using the U.S. as a gateway to get to Canada as their final destination.
Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, condemns the Canadian government for purporting the United States as safe for asylum seekers. She believes that these agreements could mean fewer people come to Canada.
Call an Immigration Lawyer in Mississauga
Whether you are impacted by these agreements or have another immigration issue that you need assistance with, get help from a Mississauga immigration lawyer. We are here to help. You can schedule your legal consultation today with Nanda & Associate Lawyers by calling (905)-405-0199 or use our online contact form. We assist clients of all nationalities and backgrounds and offer services in 15 different languages, including English, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Bangla, Chinese, Italian, Telugu, and Tamil.