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Provision of protection and safety rights to refugees from all over the world is a noble commitment. This type of commitment is given out on a free basis by some of the developed countries in the world, if not all of them. Despite that fact that the United States and Canada have been taking care of the refugees for a long time, refugee policies are undergoing a lot of changes and reconsiderations.
The Safe Third Country Agreement between the United States and Canada signed in 2002 provides examples of such reconsiderations. This paper discusses the impacts and effects of this agreement. This agreement depicts that both, Canada and the United States, in addition to their policies and immigration laws have responsibilities towards refuge seekers under the Geneva Convention to refugees’ status.
Effects of the Agreement
The effect of the implementation of this agreement leads to a reduced ability of refugees to make refuge in these countries. Once this agreement (Safe Third Country Agreement) is in force, the immigration of refugees to Canada and the United States can be limited in different ways. First, as soon as the agreement gets in action, refuge seekers can be prevented from filling their claims in both Canada and the United States.
Secondly, according to the rules determined by the United States, refugees requested to apply for asylum in the US other than Canada are not able to do so. When considered, Canadian treatment of asylum claims seem to be stricter as compared to that of the United States, especially in gender based cases. In the United States, the rule that requires a refugee to claim refuge within a year makes a reasonable number of refugees ineligible (Adelman, 2002).
Third, all refugees in the United States and under the agreement cannot make claims. They are afraid of making the claims thinking that they can be treated cruelly or even detained. The next issue is that the agreement should allow the American as well as the Canadian authorities to control the refugees that can be suspected in seeking for asylum with a motive of terrorism.
According to the agreement, some of the refugees seeking asylum in the United States and Canada who have a valid reason for doing so, will not be able to apply being afraid of the procedures to be undertaken according to the new agreement. This makes them move away from applying for these chances.
The other effect is that refugees are vulnerable to hostility and suspicion from Americans as well as Canadians. “The two governments are heavily using the agreement to politically justify that some refugees could be potentially linked terrorism hence disregarding their human rights” (Rights, 2002).
In conclusion, The Safe Third Agreement is clear evidence that the United States begin to scrutinize its procedure of admitting refugees for the sake of safety of its citizens though performing its international role of provision of asylum to refugees.
The potentiality of the agreement have negative effects to the refugees and it seems to be of less concern to the general public or policy makers in the US. On the other hand, Canada is not able to loose or go far from its economic partner, therefore, goes by the agreement without considering its humanitarian impact.
Adelman, H. (2002). Canadian Borders and Immigration Post 9/11. The International Migration Review , 36(1), 15-18.
Rights, L. C. (December 4, 2002). US-Canada “Safe Third CountryAgreement”. Will Hurt Asylum Seekers , II. [Press release]. Web.