The courts appeal to the Canadian government, which is defending its agreement to deny asylum seekers.
A Canadian appellate court on Thursday upheld an agreement between Canada and the United States to return asylum seekers, reversing an decision of the lower court, sided with the federal government and set up a possible trial of the Supreme Court.
The Government of Canada issued an appeal defending the agreement and according to association, US immigration detention operations. Canada has argued that this treaty is necessary to administer their borders with the United States.
The question is whether the Safe Third National Agreement (STCA), a treaty signed in 2002 and under which asylum seekers try to cross between Canada and the United States at official border crossings. have been returned and returned, in violation of asylum-seekers’ fundamental rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom.
Thursday’s ruling said the agreement itself was not the cause of allegations of violation of the rights of the disputing parties, but rather periodic assessments of the designation of the United States as a “safe country. “as well as” related administrative acts “.
The ruling said the challenge should focus on those assessments, even though the government has kept them a secret.
The ruling also said that the experience of only 10 cited asylum seekers was insufficient to draw a conclusion about the US immigration detention system and potential violations of rights.
Immigration law professor Jamie Chai Yun Liew of the University of Ottawa said it was a difficult issue to raise, adding that the verdict and the continuation of the agreement go against the reputation that Canada has. and is building yourself as a refugee advocate.
“It undermines our commitment to refugee protection and also undermines our reputation for protecting the rights of refugees,” she said.
The Government of Canada has argued that it would suffer “irreversible harm” if the agreement was dissolved and asylum seekers were allowed to enter across land borders and claim asylum.
“[The] The STCA remains a comprehensive means of lovingly, fairly and orderly asylum requests, ”the government said in a statement Thursday.
Refugee attorneys can apply to be heard by the Supreme Court of Canada.
Last year, a federal court ruled that the agreement violates asylum seekers’ rights to life, liberty and security because those denied can be detained indefinitely in immigration detention.
Refugee attorneys also argue that those trying to make asylum claims that are acceptable in Canada, such as those on the grounds of sex discrimination, are at risk. chance of being taken back to their country of origin by the United States.
During the administration of former US President Donald Trump, tens of thousands of asylum seekers crossed Canada between ports of entry to comply with the STCA, which only applies to official border crossings.
However, since the introduction of COVID-19, Canada has had a policy of denying asylum seekers who attempt irregular border crossings. While it does not track what happened to them, at least a dozen people have been detained by US immigrants and at least one has been deported.