Refugees who initially planned to settle in the United States are now reportedly making the trek up north to Canada. The current laws on the books, however, mean that these refugees will more than likely not be able to live legally in America’s northern neighbor.
The Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S. came into effect in 2004. This meant that a refugee who first arrives in the U.S. can’t claim asylum in Canada, and visa versa. (RELATED: US Border Security Nabs Refugees Trying To Sneak Into Canada)
There are exceptions to the Safe Third Country Agreement, but they are few. These exceptions are if you have a family member living legally in Canada, if you are an unaccompanied minor, if you have a Canadian visa or work permit, or if you would be facing the death penalty in the U.S.
The Montreal Gazette also reports that a loophole in the agreement allows for refugees to apply for asylum as long as they cross illegally into the interior of the country. However as Canadian Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen has said, he has no plans to increase his country’s refugee intake, these refugees crossing illegally are doubtful to get asylum.
The nation only plans to support 7,500 refugees and an additional 16,000 have to be privately sponsored. This has led to a fight by Canadian liberals to get Prime Minister Trudeau to suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement.
The Toronto Star editorial board wrote Thursday that “Ottawa has a moral obligation” to suspend the agreement. The article cited a report from Harvard University Law School that states that “the finding that the U.S. is safe is wrong and unfounded.”
“If Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meant what he tweeted about Canada’s commitment to openness in the wake of Trump’s travel ban, his government should ensure that those who cannot now count on safe haven in the U.S. can find it here,” the editorial board wrote.
Prime Minister Trudeau has said he is “very concerned” about asylum seekers making dangerous voyages to reach his nation, but has not commented on whether he will suspend the current agreement with the U.S. Trudeau is scheduled to meet with President Trump on Monday.