Thursday, 25 April, 2019

Canada to Tighten Laws Against Migrants Rejected by US, Other Countries

Canada to reject refugees with claims in other countries Canada to Tighten Laws Against Migrants Rejected by US, Other Countries
Jeannette Daniel | 13 April, 2019, 15:54

"There has been some discussion about how we might apply the agreement to those who present themselves at a place other than the border where there's clear evidence that they've come from the United States, that they were in a place that was, in fact, a safe third country, or if they've made application in the United States and they have legal travel documents in the United States", said Blair about the negotiations.

The Canadian government proposed changes to its asylum laws Tuesday via a recently tabled omnibus budget bill.

According to the proposed amendments, border agents will be bestowed with authority to reject refugee claims from people who have already been turned away from a country that has an immigration information-sharing agreement with Canada, which includes the United States, the UK, New Zealand and Australia. The decision is considered one of the most significant in Canadian refugee law and was instrumental in the formation of the Immigration and Refugee Board - the arm's-length agency that hears refugee claims in Canada.

Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen earlier this week said the measure is supported by the United Nations and would result in about 1,000 claimants each year being denied asylum in Canada.

The new disqualification would make those individuals illegible for asylum claims in Canada if they are seeking refugee protection in another country. Instead, they will undergo pre-removal risk assessments on whether it's safe to send them back to their countries of origin.

Since then, more than 41,000 people have arrived at the Canada-U.S. border to seek asylum in Canada.

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Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees, said substantial changes to immigration laws such as the proposed ones should be given a full hearing in Parliament.

"We need to recognize that there are larger numbers now than before because of global instability in terms of refugees", he said.

Winnipeg human rights lawyer David Matas said the strategy won't solve anything and should be removed from the omnibus bill.

"These are standalone bills and they should be dealt with as such, and to try and bury in the budget bill is absolutely contrary to what (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau himself promised in the 2015 election".

The recent changes seem to indicate a shift in the Trudeau government's approach to the border.

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