VICE News

Canada Urged to Scrap a US Border Agreement That Forces Refugees Underground

The Safe Third Country Agreement, established in the aftermath of 9/11, is taking on new implications in the wake of Trump’s immigration crackdown.
January 28, 2017, 6:24pm

Canada is facing pressure to scrap an agreement that prohibits anyone who is entering the country by way of the United States from applying for refugee status.

The Safe Third Country Agreement, established in the aftermath of 9/11, is taking on new implications in the wake of Trump's immigration crackdown, with advocates, lawyers and border guards saying it endangers migrants by pushing them to cross the border illegally.

The number of people making clandestine crossings to Canada has already shot up in recent years, and that trend is expected to increase following a sweeping executive order from the Oval Office that targets Muslim-majority countries.

On Friday, the president indefinitely suspended refugee admissions from Syria; banned admissions from all countries for three months, while the government decides which countries to allow; and prohibited entry—immigrant and nonimmigrant—from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen for 30 days.

"That's going to put more pressure at the border with this unfortunate Safe Third Country agreement, which forces most people to cross illegally," said Janet Dench of the Canadian Council for Refugees. "That's bad for them but good for smugglers because they take advantage of people in this situation."

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