Changes in Immigration policy and Refugee protection in the United States have led to calls for the review or suspension of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA). A range of thinkers and organizations – from scholars at Harvard University to Amnesty International and the Canadian Council for Refugees – have raised concerns that this agreement is endangering migrants
Because the U.S. is designated as a “safe third country” under the Safe Third Country Agreement, refugees who arrived first in the U.S. must request protection there, unless they qualify for an exception to the Agreement. The STCA makes it hard for these refugees to come to Canada if they feel that they are no longer safe in the U.S. The STCA is behind the irregular border crossings that were so prominent in the media in late winter 2017: refugees crossing from the U.S. to Canada sometimes risking their lives to make the journey. These risky crossings are a direct result of the STCA and demonstrate that not all refugees feel safe in the US today. For more information on the STCA, read this FAQ resource from the Canadian Council for Refugees.
The Christian Reformed Church in North America has a long and faithful tradition of refugee resettlement. Many congregations in our church network have been enthusiastic private sponsors with the support of World Renew.
We agree with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: “diversity is our strength”. Global tensions and developing pressures related to the new administration in the United States make it all the more important for Canada to set an international example in the protection and settlement of displaced people.
Contact your MP today to:
- Urge them to ask the Minister to monitor and review the Safe Third Country Agreement. If concerns are found in light of the recent policy changes related to the safety and welcome of Refugees in the United States, encourage them to ask the Minister to seek appropriate changes to the agreement .
- Consider Government-Assisted Refugee and Blended Visa Office-Referred refugee increases and enhancements if there is evidence of increasing vulnerability of migrants due to policy developments in other key settling countries.