Why are people illegally crossing the border into Canada?
The promised travel ban and immigration crackdown by U.S. President Donald Trump appears to be prompting many to head north.
This week the UN refugee agency’s representative in Canada, Jean-Nicolas Beuze, visited the crossing at Lacolle, Que., to observe the process and speak with asylum seekers. In an interview on CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, he said many people told him they were fleeing what they felt was an unwelcoming climate in the U.S.
“The rhetoric in the U.S. against foreigners, migrants, refugees and against specific groups has prompted some of them to feel they were potentially at risk in the U.S., of not having access to a fair process in the U.S., and those decided to come to Canada,” he told host Rosemary Barton.
While some of the migrants are leaving the U.S. because they are there illegally or are undocumented, many of the migrants Beuze spoke with had valid residency in the U.S., but wanted to come to Canada because it is “a more welcoming country.”
Some of the migrants are making the trek at great personal risk this winter, crossing frozen fields and stumbling through snowbanks.
They’re using these routes instead of official border crossings to avoid the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, which can be applied at official land border points, train crossings and airports.
What is the Safe Third Country Agreement?
Under the agreement, refugee claimants are required to request refugee protection in the first safe country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception spelled out in the agreement.
Anyone who doesn’t meet an exception would have a request for entry into Canada automatically rejected.
The Safe Third Country…