By Andy J. Semotiuk / Forbes | on 08 March 2017
Trump Immigration Crackdown Puts Pressure On Canada. The new Trump measures to deport illegal immigrants, including this Trump Lite version, is putting pressure on Canada to consider revoking the Safe Third Party Agreement under which refugees are required to make their claims in the first country they land in and thus not import them into Canada. The argument is that the U.S. is no longer a safe country.
It's too early to definitively comment on the legality of Trump's new immigration executive order signed Monday. However, the lingering anti-Muslim animus previously expressed by Trump during the Presidential election campaign permeates the new "Trump Lite" order. Like his previous aborted order, this new one fails to identify the countries that have been linked to terrorists who previously caused harm in the United States, most notably Saudi Arabia. So the criticism of aiming at the wrong target countries, namely, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Sudan and Yemen, still applies.
The new order is far more cautious in setting out its proscriptions and more tentative in how long they will remain in effect. A 90-day travel ban from the six Muslim countries identified seems too short a time period to make much of a fuss about, and the 120-day ban on refugee processing ostensibly to better organize the system is also not in itself unreasonable. So who knows at the moment whether it will end up in the U.S. Supreme Court.
That said, however, there is no doubt that this new order will have an impact on what at least some illegal immigrants in the United States will do. It's safe to assume some will look to Canada as a way to escape its effect. That is the focus of this article because today the Canadian Cabinet is meeting in Ottawa to consider that question.
Recently there has been growing media coverage of the trickle of migrants streaming across the U.S.-Canadian border ostensibly to get away from Trump's crackdown on illegal immigrants. The new Trump measures to deport illegal immigrants, including this Trump Lite version, is putting pressure on Canada to consider revoking the Safe Third Party Agreement under which refugees are required to make their claims in the first country they land in and thus not import them into Canada. The argument is that the U.S. is no longer a safe country. So far the Liberal government has remained steadfast in rejecting these calls. So long as that is true the exceptions under that agreement are going to play a pivotal role in Canadian-U.S. relations as the trickle of migrants increases over the summer months - the migrants being less deterred to migrate by the freezing temperatures.
In recent years Canada has allowed 250,000 immigrants per year to arrive on its shores. Recently, Canada brought in 55,000 Syrian refugees and the Minister of immigration announced the country would be raising its quota of immigrants to 300,000 this year. That said, consider the fact that there are 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States. Assuming enough pressure is applied on them, the question arises how many of them would make the trek northward? It is easy to see that Canada could easily be overwhelmed by a flood of migrants. When one considers that refugee claimants in Canada can get free health care, social assistance, education for children, work permits and legal aid, the attraction becomes even more apparent.
Looking at the composition of the illegal immigrant population in the United States, over six million have been in the U.S. for over ten years. Another six million are from Mexico. The latter is particularly significant because unlike in the U.S., Mexican citizens can come to Canada without a visa. Recently Canada has been strained by importing 55,000 Syrian refugees, imagine what would happen if a significant number of illegal immigrants from the U.S. arrived all at once into the country.
The Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) provides that if an immigrant arrives at a port of entry from the United States that immigrant can be turned back and denied the opportunity to make a refugee claim on the argument that it should be made in the first country of arrival. What if most of the migrants to Canada were long-term illegals and decided to come to the country circumventing ports of entry? In that case the STCA does not apply and they would be eligible to make a refugee claim. Some may, but some entrants may not and instead just go underground in Canada if they can get away with it.