Amidst the ongoing news stories documenting the U.S. government’s reprehensible treatment of asylum seekers attempting to cross their southern border, it is all too common to witness relief and back-patting from Canadians who regard our country as morally superior.
It would be fruitful in the circumstances to reflect on how Canada, too, is complicit in these crimes, and actively prevents the victims from seeking shelter here.
Under the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the U.S., asylum seekers who arrive in the U.S. are barred from later applying for asylum in Canada. Given the U.S.’s policy of illegally imprisoning asylum seekers, it is overwhelmingly clear that the U.S. does not constitute a safe third country.
In order to have any chance of achieving the moral superiority that we like to congratulate ourselves on, we should push the federal government to rescind this agreement. Doing so will allow Canada to provide shelter for the potential victims of this U.S. policy, who are exercising their right, as enshrined in international law, to seek asylum from abuses perpetrated in their countries of origin.