Canada's leftist New Democratic Party urged Ottawa today to scrap an agreement it has with Washington on divvying up refugees.
Canada’s leftist New Democratic Party urged Ottawa today to scrap an agreement it has with Washington on divvying up refugees. “The US is no longer a safe country for refugees, and refugees continue to risk life and limb to come to Canada,” New Democratic Party MP Jenny Kwan said in a statement. “The Liberal government must immediately suspend the Safe Third Country Agreement, so that refugees in the US can apply legally and cross safely into Canada,” she said.
The comments follow a wave of border jumpers from the United States who have risked their lives trudging through snow and wilderness in bone-chilling cold to seek asylum in Canada.
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The so-called Safe Third Party Agreement prevents them from lodging claims in Canada if they first landed stateside.
But a loophole in the 2004 accord — which the opposition Tories want closed — allows arrivals to file a claim if they have bypassed border checkpoints to get into the country.
Detractors of the accord say the agreement actually encourages border jumping.
Several of the arrivals, who number in the hundreds, have said they left the United States because of President Donald Trump’s immigration crackdown.
Kwan noted the case of an Ivory Coast national who was recently hospitalized after being found collapsed in the snow after trying to cross into Canada.
He had attempted to enter Canada from New York and seek asylum at a land border crossing, but was turned away. He later slipped into Canada under the cover of night.
The man’s lawyer told AFP: “I’ve never understood the advantage of this treaty for the signatories.”
It adds layers of bureaucracy and “the only people who benefit from it are the smuggling networks,” he said.