Last week, the U.S. and Canadian governments expanded their 2002 “safe third country” agreement to allow both countries to expel vulnerable people seeking asylum who have crossed the countries’ shared border in between ports of entry. The expansion of the deal was negotiated in secret a year ago and became effective just three days after its announcement on March 25.
“Once again, the U.S. callously cuts protections for survivors of gender-based and other violence who are seeking safety in North America,” said Rachel Sheridan, Senior Litigation Counsel at the Tahirih Justice Center. “The expansion of this agreement limits the movement of people fleeing persecution, curtails access to safety for survivors seeking asylum, and tramples our moral obligation to protect the vulnerable.”
The 2002 agreement forced migrants seeking safety to apply for asylum in their first country of arrival and resulted in many asylum seekers being turned away at official U.S.-Canada points of entry. The new policy – which went into effect on March 28 – expands the 2002 agreement to include most migrants who cross the U.S.-Canada border between official ports of entry.
The Biden Administration should abandon this and all deterrence-based policies and instead work to find solutions that honor our legal and moral commitments to those fleeing persecution.
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The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that serves women, girls, and all immigrant survivors of gender-based violence. By amplifying the experiences of survivors, Tahirih’s mission is to create a world in which all people share equal rights and live in safety and with dignity.