7.24.2009

canada continues to tighten its borders to refugees

Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney continues to make Canada less welcoming to immigrants and refugees.

The latest move comes hot on the heels of his imposition of sudden visa restrictions on travelers from Mexico and the Czech Republic, which itself was the latest in a long list of Tory anti-immigration moves. It's very sad.

Sadder still is that we are stuck with this interminable Conservative government, thanks to spineless, capitulating, self-serving, unprincipled Liberals.

Directly from the horse's mouth:
A change related to the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement was announced today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney. The change removes one of Canada's exceptions to the Agreement and is another step toward improving Canada's asylum system.

The Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement was signed on December 5, 2002, and implemented on December 29, 2004. Under the Agreement, refugee claimants arriving in North America must make a claim in the first safe country they reach - either Canada or the United States.

One of Canada's exceptions to this agreement allowed individuals from countries under a temporary suspension of removals (TSR) coming through the Canada-U.S. land border to make a refugee claim in Canada, even though they already had the opportunity to make one in the United States. Effective today, this exception has been removed.

Unless they qualify for another exception under the Safe Third Country Agreement, nationals from TSR countries (Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Iraq and Zimbabwe) arriving at a Canada-U.S. land border will be ineligible to make a refugee claim in Canada and will be turned back to the United States. Nationals from these countries already in Canada or arriving at a port of entry that is not a land border with the U.S. will not be affected by this measure and will continue to have access to Canada's asylum system.

More here.

In case you missed it, here's some important reaction to Kenney's "improvements": former irb chair says political interference is crippling canada's refugee board, and harming innocent people.

2 comments:

Sarah O. said...

Nationals from these countries already in Canada or arriving at a port of entry that is not a land border with the U.S. will not be affected by this measure and will continue to have access to Canada's asylum system.

Sorry if this is a little off-topic, but does this mean someone could take the ferry to Yarmouth, or hop on a sailboat in Boston heading to Halifax, for instance, and be exempt from these new rules?

L-girl said...

Hmmm... not off-topic, and an interesting question.

"...not a land border with the US...". I take that to mean they would be exempt.