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Canada Supreme Court Upholds Deal That Sends Asylum-Seekers Back to US

Canada’s Supreme Court on Friday upheld an immigration agreement between Canada and the United States that says refugees must apply for asylum application in the first country they arrive in.

According to the 2002 Safe Third Country Agreement between the US and Canada, refugees who go to an official Canadian crossing are returned to the US and told to apply there.  This pact is deemed significantly important to control the flow of asylum-seekers across the shared border, the Canadian high court said.

On the contrary, critics have long called for revoking the immigration deal, saying that asylum-seekers in the United States are at risk of mistreatment and deportation.

In a unanimous decision on Friday, the supreme court ruled that the agreement did not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which defines the right to “life, liberty and security of the person.”

“In my view, the record does not support the conclusion that the American detention regime is fundamentally unfair,” said the ruling written by Justice Nicholas Kasirer.

Previously, those who reached Canadian soil somewhere other than a port of entry, like the center near Roxham Road, had been allowed to stay and request protection. However, the new agreement closed a loophole that allowed thousands of asylum seekers to move between the two countries along a back road linking New York state to the Canadian province of Quebec.

The Canadian Council for Refugees and many lawyers had asked the high court to declare that the legislation violated the rights to life, liberty and security of individuals, adding the US is not actually safe for many asylum seekers.