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  • Writer's pictureGiuseppe Marini

Surge of Irregular Asylum Seekers Causes Canada and USA to Change Refugee Agreement

In an attempt to reduce the record influx of asylum seekers entering Canada via unofficial border crossings, both the United States and Canadian governments amended the ‘Safe Third Country Agreement’. According to Reuters, most irregular border crossings to Canada occurred at Roxham Road where almost 10,000 individuals crossed the border between January and February of this year. The Third Country Agreement meant that asylum seekers crossing into either Canada or the USA at formal border crossings were to be turned back and told to apply for asylum in the first country deemed safe that they arrived in. However, if they made irregular crossings, they would be able to claim asylum in the country they crossed into nonetheless.

The revised agreement not only applies to formal border crossings but the entire length of the American-Canadian land border. Anyone crossing into the country that applies for asylum within fourteen [14] days will be turned away. Advocates for refugees warn that such stringent measures will not deter those who feel it necessary to cross the border. They will be effectively put in a situation where they must make riskier border crossings or wait until after 14 days have passed to claim protection.

There are concerns in the legal community that the revised agreement between Canada and the United States may make a difference in reducing the flow of irregular border crossings, but it may increase human trafficking or force people to resort to extremes to survive.

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