TORONTO – After years of asylum seekers crossing the Canada-AS border illegally filing claims with refugees, Canada is repatriating them and sending them back to the United States, says plans this sends them back to their home countries quickly.
Canada said last week it would no longer accept irregular migrants trying to cross the border into the United States and instead return it to U.S. authorities, as a temporary step amid a coronavirus outbreak.
“In the event that a foreigner cannot be returned to Mexico or Canada, CBP will work with interagency partners to secure return to the country of origin and hold the foreigner in the shortest time possible,” US Customs and Spokesman Border Protection (CBP) Michael Niezgoda told Reuters in an email.
“For those who remain in CBP custody, CBP will, as far as possible, keep them separate. Persons with autism will be referred to the CDC and placed in isolation.”
Since 2017 around 54,000 people have crossed the border into Canada, many saying they want to avoid the US President’s crackdown on the United States against refugees and illegal immigrants.
It shows a lack of leadership
Initially, in early March, Ottawa said it would keep irregular migrants crossing the border into the quarantine for two weeks. Last week, it said it reached an agreement with the United States to close the border on all but essential travel.
Amnesty International said Canada’s position violated its duties under the refugee convention in 1951, including a clause on the failure or the return of asylum seekers to areas where they had fled the prosecution. , often in their home countries.
“It shows a lack of leadership. It shows a lack of legal commitment to Canada’s signed obligations,” said Justin Mohammed, a human rights law and policy campaigner for Amnesty International Canada.
Immigration and Refugees Minister Marco Mendocino referred questions about irregular migrants to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who was unavailable.
Blair’s spokesman said Ottawa was “committed to ensuring that Canada remains a happy country for fleeing wars and persecution” and responding to global commitments.
“We should note that these restrictions are temporary, and are constantly being re-evaluated to best reflect the advice of our public health officials,” spokeswoman Mary-Liz Power said in an email.
Amnesty International considers aspects of the United States immigration detention policy a violation of human rights, citing high rates of detention, inadequate conditions and enforcing separation of parents and children.
Authorities in the United States said last week that they would delay the arrest of some people who allegedly violated immigration laws until the coronavirus crisis ended.
Returning people to their home countries will be tough given the restrictions on flying to the US, said Janet McFetridge, whose Plattsburgh Cares organization helps migrants on the U.S. side of the New York- Quebec near Roxham Road, a popular crossing site.
“If they had to go back to where they came from, they would have a very difficult time getting there,” he said. “It’s a completely bloody situation.”
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