United States—Safe Third Country AgreementPublished on 2 March 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Mobina Jaffer
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer:
Honourable senators, my question is to the leader and my question is on the safe third country agreement.
Leader, you spent a lot of your life on these issues and you are very much aware of the safe third country rule. As you are aware, for many years we did not have the safe third country rule with the United States because we had very serious concerns, especially during the previous sanctuary period when refugees were coming from Central America and they had challenges in the U.S.
Our safe third country agreement with the United States states that since both Canada and the U.S. are both safe countries to land, refugees making claims at a border crossing at a land border with the U.S. must be turned away. The way I understand it is if they come to an official border, they will immediately be sent back.
The assumption of that agreement was that our neighbours to the South will continue to have refugee policies that will be able to help those most in need. Unfortunately, we can no longer make that assumption with the present administration’s executive orders halting immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days. I know this executive order is being reconsidered, but there is also the stopping of resettlement of refugees for 120 days.
Leader, isn’t it time that we examine the safe third country agreement with the United States?