An Immigration Lawyer in Canada Can Help Asylum Seekers Avoid the Dangerous Trek into Canada
The contrasting immigration policies of Canada and the U.S. are causing more people to seek refuge in Canada for fear of deportation by the U.S. government. The number of asylum seekers entering Canada via illegal border crossings has significantly increased in the past year, and especially since Donald Trump was elected and imposed his immigration ban. These people are risking their lives in the freezing temperatures to cross into Canada. For those seeking refugee status, an immigration lawyer in Canada can help with the application process.
An article from ABC News describes the harrowing journey some asylum seekers make for a second chance at safety, freedom, and life. This past Christmas Eve, two asylum-seekers trekked through fields of waist-high snow in freezing temperatures to reach Manitoba. Their 10-hour-long trek from the U.S. cost these men all of their fingers and almost cost them their lives. Since it was Christmas Eve, there were no cars on the road to help them. After seven hours of hoping for a car to pass, a truck finally stopped and brought them to safety.
These men suffered from serious frost bite and were certain they were going to die from the cold. Although they’ve lost their fingers, they are still grateful to be in Canada. Had they stayed in the U.S., they would have been deported to their home country. These men were at risk of imprisonment and execution; one of the men risked persecution for his sexual orientation.
These stories are becoming more familiar as more asylum-seekers, including families with children, are entering into Canada at illegal border crossings. These people are risking their lives to find a safer home in Canada.
The increase in asylum-seekers has been attributed to Trump’s anti-immigration stance. This stance has immigrants fearing deportation if their asylum claims are denied in the U.S. These asylum-seekers are also making the dangerous trek illegally into Canada because of Canada’s Safe Third Country agreement with the U.S.
Under the Agreement, refugee claimants must request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement (family member exceptions; unaccompanied minor exceptions; document holder exceptions; public interest exceptions). Canada and the United States signed the Agreement on December 5, 2002. It came into effect on December 29, 2004.
Currently, Canada's Immigration and Refugee Protection Act designates the U.S. as a safe third country. It is the only country with such a designation under the act.
The two men who lost fingers while crossing into Manitoba say that Canada has been more welcoming than the U.S. They added that Canadians treat them with respect and give them a fair process. Given the present political realities in the United States, Canadian officials and decision-makers should take steps to abolish the Canada-US Safe Third Country agreement in order to avoid putting the lives of those fleeing persecution at risk.