In 2017 Executive Orders were issued that blatantly violate international refugee and human rights legal obligations, including under the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 Protocol, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention against Torture.
Two of the Executive Orders (EOs) include calls for a new regime of large-scale detention, expanded expedited removal without due process, deputizing of state and local officials to detain individuals suspected of immigration violations, and aggressive criminal prosecution for unauthorized entry, a means by which many seek access to asylum protection.
The April 2018 ‘zero-tolerance’ policy separates and detains asylum seeking children and parents, and intentionally inflicts severe mental suffering on families for coercive purposes.
The ‘Safe Third Country Agreement’ between Canada and the United States means that, in most cases, asylum seekers in the USA must make their refugee claim there, instead of in Canada – since it assumes the US is a ‘safe’ country which upholds international human rights and the Refugee Convention. There is an exception for those who do not cross at official border crossings, which is why so many people have made the difficult – and often dangerous – decision to cross into Canada irregularly.
The US practices and policies curtail asylum seekers’ ability to meaningfully pursue refugee claims in the United States, and greatly increase the risk that individuals with viable refugee claims will be deported to countries where they face persecution.
Canada must act immediately to distance its refugee policy from the USA and rescind the Safe Third Country agreement so that refugees who turn to Canada are able to do so.
The US is less safe for refugees than ever, evidence filed in court challenge shows (July 4, 2018)
Amnesty International: Canada must strip USA of “safe third country” designation for refugee claimants
Tell your MP: America isn't safe for refugees
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