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U.S. migration policy fuels calls for Canada to end Safe Third Country Agreement

Last Updated Jun 19, 2018 at 12:26 pm PDT

(Cormac MacSweeney, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

"The United States is no longer a safe third country," says Green Party leader Elizabeth May

'I don't think any civilized democratic society ever can... separate parents from their children,' says MP Don Davies

Canada's hands may be tied, when it comes to helping children separated from parents or stopping U.S. migration policy

OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – There are more and more calls for Canada to halt its Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, over the new Trump policy on immigration.

There has been global outrage after thousands of children of migrants have been separated from their parents and sent to detention centres, where they have been locked in cages.

“The United States is no longer a safe third country,” says Green Party leader Elizabeth May, who is one of many opposition members who wants to see the Safe Third Country Agreement changed, suspended or scrapped.

She says if Trump’s proposed Muslim ban wasn’t enough, the cries of children being taken from their parents arms should be.

May adds the Trudeau government shouldn’t be afraid to speak up just because economic relations with the U.S. are tense. “Why should we be silenced on fundamental questions of children’s rights because we’re afraid of trade sanctions?”


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The images and sounds from the detention centres are heartbreaking for a lot of MPs. New Democrat Don Davies says this is just another piece of proof that the us is no longer a safe place for Canada to send refugees and migrants.

“Frankly, I’m appalled. I don’t think any civilized democratic society ever can get to the place where they separate parents from their children for any policy reasons.”

But Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussein has only said they are monitoring the situation. “We have to see what the effects are on the domestic asylum system in the United States.”

Hussein says Canada is checking to see if the U.S. continues to meet its international obligations.

“The United Nations monitors this, as well, to make sure that the standards that go into the definition of Safe Third are, in fact, respected,” says Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.

There’s no word on how long the analysis may take.

One of Canada’s few options is to set migration example, refugee support centre says

Canada’s hands may be tied when it comes to helping the children separated from their parents or stopping the U.S. policy.

“I don’t think there’s a lot we can do,” says Loren Balisky, executive director of Kinbrace, a Vancouver-based group that provides support to refugees.

“What Canada can do is maintain its progressive assistance to asylum seekers and keep its laws and practices as intentional and life giving as possible.”

That includes welcoming those who do make it to Canada, and setting an example, he says.

Kinbrace doesn’t see a lot of people coming from Central and Southern America, but says people frequently use the U.S. as a means to come to Canada.

Last year, thousands of asylum seekers crossed Canada-U.S. land border because they were scared of being deported because President Donald Trump planned to end temporary protected status.