Thu, 13 May 2021

Canada may turn back asylum seekers, says court

Robert Besser
19 Apr 2021, 03:58 GMT+10

OTTAWA, Canada: A Canadian appeals court has upheld a Canada-U.S. agreement to turn back asylum seekers.

The ruling overturned a Canadian lower court ruling, though appeals might still be made to the Canadian Supreme Court.

Earlier, the Canadian government appealed a lower court ruling reversing the government's defense of the agreement and, by association, U.S. immigration detention practices.

In court, the government stated that the pact was necessary to manage its border with the United States.

Those opposing the Canadian government' actions said the government was in violation of the Safe Third Country Agreement which allowed asylum seekers to cross into Canada.

Also, those opposed to Canada's agreement with the United States had presented testimony from ten asylum seekers on their experiences in the United States. The court, however, said ten people did not represent all asylum seekers.

In court, lawyers for the government argued that if the agreement was voided, Canada would suffer "irreparable harm" if asylum seekers were allowed to enter through land-border crossings and make refugee claims in a bid to remain in Canada.

"The Safe Third Country Agreement remains a comprehensive means for the compassionate, fair, and orderly handling of asylum claims," the government said in a statement.

Lawyers for refugees may apply to be heard by Canada's Supreme Court.

When former U.S. President Donald Trump was in office, tens of thousands of asylum seekers crossed into Canada between ports of entry to skirt regulations which only were enforced at formal border crossings.

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