In a decision hailed as a win for refugee rights, a federal judge in Canada ruled Tuesday that the “Safe Third Country Agreement” between Canada and the U.S. is invalid because it fails to guarantee migrants’ rights to liberty and security, in effect an admission that the U.S. is not a safe country for those seeking refugee protection.
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East called the ruling “a victory for asylum seekers.”
The bilateral agreement known as STCA, which went into effect in 2004, requires migrants presenting themselves at official Canada-U.S. border points of entry to be returned to the country where they first arrived to present their claims under the assumption that claimants “could have found effective protection” in either of the two countries.
The Canadian Council for Refugees (CCR), Amnesty International, and the Canadian Council of Churches brought forth the challenge along with refugee claimants including Nedira Mustefa, an Ethiopian national.
Mustefa tried in 2017 to enter Canada from the U.S. but was returned to American soil where she was immediately imprisoned and held in solitary confinement for one week—a time she told the court was “a terrifying, isolating, and psychologically traumatic experience.” She was then detained with others who had criminal convictions and “did not know when [she] would be released, if at all.”
In a statement welcoming the ruling, CCR president Dorota Blumczynska said:
“The court could hardly fail to be moved by the testimonies of the appalling experiences of people in the U.S. immigration detention system, after Canada closed the doors on them. Their experiences show us—and convinced the court — that the U.S. cannot be considered a safe country for refugees.”
The dreadful practice is increasing, says Canadian author and women’s rights activist, Farzana Hassan, because aid workers/support networks are no where to be found due to the virus crisis and the social and economic decline it is causing worldwide.
You can be sure that Somalis resettled by the tens of thousands in America brought some of these “entrenched social norms” with them.
COVID-19 has caused widespread illness, death and economic misery everywhere. It has also given rise to social problems, exacerbating crimes like female genital mutilation in the developing world.
Recent reports from Somalia, the country with the highest percentage of FGM, show a disturbing trend. This brutality inflicted on underage girls has reportedly increased during these weeks of confinement and isolation.
This is not entirely unexpected.
In fact, humanitarian agencies across the world predicted the figures would get worse. The economic crisis caused by COVID-19 has resulted in an increase in all forms of violence toward girls, partly because their access to the support networks put in place by humanitarian agencies has been blocked.
Any small gains previously made toward gender equality and the basic human rights of women and girls have suffered a serious blow.
They had been getting this support at school or in the workplace, but now they are confined to their most dangerous environment: home. The pressure is on parents and guardians to provide for them under these economically stressful times. The solution for families is to get these girls married off, and in Somalia only girls who have undergone FGM stand any chance of marriage.
Regrettably, the mutilation is not confined to Somalia. In other African countries, like Sudan and Sierra Leone, the practice is also prevalent. It is a manifestation of entrenched social norms rooted in gross gender inequality right across the continent.
A staggering 98% of African females have endured the painful and traumatic procedure of having parts of their outer genitalia cut off by women who have made a profession out of this. Of these victims, 40% happen to be under the age of 15.
It is a long story, probably not worth reading, by a Canadian professor clearly unhappy with the turn of events. The Open Borders Lefties are generally treading lightly because citizens are in no mood to have their liberties restricted (and health threatened) while migrants have free movement around the world.
Coronavirus: Racism and the long-term impacts of emergency measures in Canada
The dangers to public health during the COVID-19 pandemic are terrifying, so it’s not surprising governments around the world are taking extraordinary measures to curb its spread, including closing borders to non-nationals.
Canada has become one of many countries to either partially or completely close their borders and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also announced that Canada will no longer consider asylum claims.
Canada has won international praise over the last few years for its commitment to refugee resettlement in particular, as evidenced by the arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees in a few short months.
But Trudeau has announced that due to these “exceptional times,” a new agreement has been signed with the United States that would see asylum-seekers crossing the border on foot returned to the U.S.
This exceptional reaction goes against Canada’s commitments under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and a 1985 Supreme Court ruling that says refugee claimants have a right to a fair hearing (the Singh decision).
Although it’s becoming a bit overused, there is no better phrase than ‘demography is destiny’ and Mark Steyn’s now famous book, ‘America Alone’, published twelve years ago next month, nailed it.
Taking a little break from wandering through the weeds of the US Refugee Admissions Program severely curtailed by President Trump’s policies that include a significant reduction in refugee admissions to the US, we see that the Migration Policy Institute(a leftwing Washington DC think tank) has opined that Europe will be picking up the slack left by the US under the Trump administration.
If Europe does indeed pick up that slack it will only hasten the basic premise of Steyn’s ‘America Alone’.
Can you see the day a few decades into the future when westerners will try to flee to America to escape the demographic hodge-podge (and economic decline) being created in the heart of the birthplace of western civilization? I can.
The Future of Refugee Resettlement: Made in Europe?
Europe’s refugee resettlement programs are at an inflection point. Since 2017, more than 40 percent of all refugees resettled globally through the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) have found new homes in Europe, a sharp uptick from the 8 percent share the continent represented a decade ago.This is the result both of the dramatic growth of resettlement capacity in Europe—places have more than doubled since 2014 as countries such as Croatia and Slovenia have begun resettlement operations—alongside the dramatic shrinking of the U.S. resettlement program under the Trump administration. Beyond the numbers, Europe has increasingly become the center of gravity for innovation in resettlement. Today, new ideas for how to grow and strengthen resettlement are born in Europe.
These developments mark a potentially important shift in agenda-setting power from what have been the “Big Three” resettlement programs (the United States, Canada, and Australia). As national and EU leaders consider a new European migration agenda this spring, they face a choice: to claim a leadership role in shaping the global resettlement space, or to fall into this position by default. [Have at it Europe, set the agenda and leave the US alone—ed]
There is talk of “innovation” to get more migrants placed in Europe including using the Canadian model of private sponsorship that recently came under fire in a piece published in a Canadian policy magazine entitled: ‘The Cracks in our admired private refugee sponsorship program.’
It would be wise for European policy makers to see what is going wrong with the Canadian model before they pronounce it the greatest thing since sliced bread! And watch for the private sponsorship theory to become a flavor of the month here too.
A New European Stamp on Resettlement?
While Europe’s innovative turn was driven primarily by internal needs, with less attention to how these actions will influence the resettlement space beyond its borders, it may offer much needed and timely inspiration at the global level.
As resettlement countries globally seek to fulfill the commitments of UNHCR’s three-year resettlement strategy, adopted in June 2019 under the Global Compact for Refugees, resettlement programs must learn and evolve. They will need to prove themselves able to extend their processing and reception capacities to welcome greater numbers of refugees without sacrificing the quality of support they provide.
The US did not sign the Global Compact for Refugees, see here at the Center for Immigration Studies. However, if any Dem wins the White House in November expect to see the US jump on lickety-split.
And they must find ways to address legitimate questions and concerns on the part of communities resettling refugees regarding how newcomers will be integrated. More than ever, it is European resettlement countries that are proving themselves to have the creativity and adaptability to address these challenges. As the availability of resettlement spaces on the global level continues to dwindle, due in large part to the deep cuts to resettlement commitments made by the United States, this energy and creativity will be needed more than ever.
Resettlement programs in Europe have advanced rapidly over the last decade. European countries now occupy a significant share of resettlement space globally and have developed a robust and innovative resettlement infrastructure.These programs have a great deal to offer in support of resettlement on the international level—if European leaders are willing and able to seize the opportunity.
Read it all here. And, kiss (much of) Europe as we knew it, good bye.
Can you see the consternation at the United Nations some day when it comes to white Europeans asking the UN to help them get into the US as refugees!
U.S. not ‘safe’ for refugees, rights groups argue in Canadian court
TORONTO (Reuters) – The United States is unsafe for would-be refugees and a Canada-U.S. agreement that compels asylum seekers to first apply for U.S. sanctuary ought to be ripped up, lawyers for refugees and rights groups argued in a Canadian federal court on Monday.
Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, asylum seekers at a formal Canada-U.S. border crossing traveling in either direction are turned back and told to apply for asylum in the country they first arrived in.
Lawyers for unnamed refugees who had been turned away are challenging the agreement, saying the United States does not qualify as a “safe” country under President Donald Trump. Human rights groups, including Amnesty International and the Canadian Council for Refugees, have also joined the case, which could change the way the two countries cooperate on refugee issues.
More than 50,000 people have illegally crossed the Canada-U.S. border to file refugee claims over the past three years, walking over ditches and on empty roads along the world’s longest undefended border. Some asylum seekers have told Reuters they might have stayed in the United States had it not been for Trump’s immigration rhetoric and policies.
On Monday, the plaintiff’s lawyers said Canada had failed to adequately review the United States’ status as a safe country.
Refugee lawyer Andrew Brouwer cited examples of asylum seekers being returned to the United States and subject to incarceration and solitary confinement for weeks, with little access to counsel.