March 15th, 2019

NDP Statement on Safe Third Country Agreement

Jenny Kwan, NDP Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Critic, made the following statement:

“In January 2018, internal memos and briefings provided to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship, informed the Minister that, ‘with the recent influx of asylum seekers to Canada, the Safe Third Country Agreement is no longer working as intended.’ Of course the STCA is not working ‘as intended’. As I’ve been saying since January 2017, the United States under President Donald Trump is not a safe country for asylum seekers. The an entire agreement is predicated upon the notion that Canada and the United States have at least comparable, if not equal, policies and procedures around refugee determination.
Migrant children continue to be taken from their parents and placed in detention. We saw videos of children as young as 3 years old being ordered into court, alone, for their own deportation hearings. There are children that are still lost in the system that might never see their parents again. This is inhumane treatment that flies in the face of Canadian and International Law on the rights of the child.
Gang/Cartel violence and Gender Based Violence are no longer considered grounds for making an asylum claim in the United States. This move intentionally targets Central and South American asylum seekers and again goes against Canadian and International law.
The only change that can be made to the STCA that respects the humanity of asylum seekers and allows Canada to live up to its domestic and international obligations is to suspend the agreement.
Suspending the STCA will allow asylum claimants to make safe, orderly entries into Canada at authorized ports of entry to make an asylum claim. This will improve safety, security, and efficiency throughout Canada’s border communities while providing the respect and dignity that human beings fleeing violence are entitled to under Canadian and International Law.”