Lawyers and Law Students Argue the U.S. Is No Longer A Safe Country And The Canada-U.S. Agreement Is Putting The Lives Of Refugees In Danger
As more asylum seekers risk their lives crossing into Canada during the harsh winter months, Canadians are speaking up about the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. This agreement is the reason why many asylum seekers are crossing into Canada at unofficial borders. Refugee lawyers have been working diligently to help these asylum seekers.
If these refugees were to enter Canada at an official border, they would risk being denied entry and sent back to the U.S. The Safe Third Country Agreement states that asylum seekers must make refugee claims in the first safe country they arrive in. But the safety of immigrants in the U.S. is being questioned now that Trump’s anti-immigration ban has been introduced. Refugee lawyers and law students in Canada are collaborating to abolish the Safe Third Country Agreement to ensure the safety of asylum seekers and to recognize that the U.S. is no longer a safe country for refugees.
According to a CBC News report, more than 200 lawyers and 22 law schools across Canada took part in a “research-a-thon” in February to gather evidence against the Safe Third Party Agreement. Refugee lawyers and law students compiled research findings from case laws, policies, and journal articles to share with refugee advocate groups who are fighting for Canada to abolish the controversial agreement, claiming the U.S. is no longer a safe country.
Since U.S. President Donald Trump introduced the ban on Syrian refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, more asylum seekers have been risking their lives to cross into Canada because they no longer feel safe in the U.S.
They either fear deportation to their home countries, where they face possible violence, persecution, and death, or they fear the possible dangers of living in a country where immigrants, especially Muslim immigrants, are treated as the enemy by the country’s leader.
The Canadian government needs to address the safety of asylum seekers who wish to enter Canada, instead of making the arduous journey across borders their only option for a chance at a safer and better life. By eliminating the Safe Third Country Agreement, asylum seekers will have a safer experience applying for refugee status in Canada, as they won’t have to travel long distances in dangerous weather conditions to cross unofficial borders.
Canada has a reputation for welcoming refugees, so the government should also ensure their safety when they are trying so desperately to make it to the U.S.-Canada border.