The US and Canada reached an agreement on Thursday to allow border officials from both countries to turn back asylum seekers traveling across their shared border without considering petitions for sanctuary.
The agreement will expand a policy called the Safe Third Country Agreement that codifies that the US and Canada are both safe countries for refugees but that refugees must first apply for asylum in whichever country they arrive in initially.
In the past few years, an overwhelming number of people have crossed the border between Canada and the US using unofficial ports of entry — taking advantage of loopholes in prior agreements and Canada's relatively liberal refugee resettlement policies. This new agreement will close loopholes that have allowed migrants to cross unlawfully.
The updated Safe Third Country Agreement violates both Canada's and US's obligations to asylum seekers. This will not stop immigration and will instead force these vulnerable people to take even more dangerous routes and could help to incentivize human trafficking. This agreement is undemocratic, dangerous, and counter to the norms of the international community.