Ottawa predicts issues at border unless Safe Third Country Agreement extended
|globalnews.ca 23 Oct 2020 at 07:11|
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The Trudeau government says there will be upheaval at the Canada-U. S. border early next year if a refugee pact between the two countries is allowed to expire.
Federal lawyers are asking the Federal Court of Appeal to stay a July ruling that struck down the Safe Third Country Agreement but left it in effect until mid-January.
Under the refugee agreement, which took effect in 2004, Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection.
It means Canada can turn back potential refugees who arrive at land ports of entry along the border on the basis they must pursue their claims in the U.S., the country where they first arrived.
Ottawa is appealing the Federal Court ruling that nixed the agreement, and will argue in a hearing this morning that the Appeal Court should pause the decision until the full challenge is resolved.
Refugee claimants and their advocates say the federal application for a stay must be rejected, given that a judge found the bilateral agreement violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In a submission to the Court of Appeal, federal lawyers say the absence of the agreement would serve as “a pull factor” attracting people to make a claim for protection in Canada.
“This will impact all types of port of entry operations and result in significant delays for persons making refugee claims at the land port of entry,” the government submission states.