Refugee policy in the United States is changing. It is time to carefully review the effectiveness of Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S. to make sure that the agreement does not endanger vulnerable 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 Agreement makes it hard for these refugees to come to Canada if they feel that they are no longer safe in the U.S. But the influx of refugees from the U.S. to Canada in recent weeks, sometimes risking their lives to make the journey, demonstrates that due to recent refugee policy developments in the U.S., such as the recent Executive Order, not all refugees feel safe there. For more information on the Safe Third Country Agreement, 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 executive order or in policy changes to come 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.