Canada’s pandemic-era coverage of turning again asylum-seekers making an attempt to enter between official border crossings is illegal and violates their rights, a authorized motion filed on Tuesday alleges.
The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers filed the authorized motion in federal court docket claiming the coverage is illegal as a result of it fails to contemplate the scenario of asylum-seekers and whether or not they have affordable options accessible.
The coverage additionally denies asylum-seekers their proper to a listening to, in accordance with a replica of the authorized motion seen by Reuters.
It is the primary authorized motion in opposition to this coverage because it was instituted in response to Covid-19 in March 2020.
Between March 21, 2020, and April 20, 2021, Canada turned again 387 asylum-seekers making an attempt to cross between ports of entry, in accordance with the Canada Border Services Agency.
Even although Canada stated they may return at a later date to make refugee claims, the authorized motion argues Canada is just not making certain that the turning away of refugees is non permanent.
Canada has beforehand stated the turn-back coverage, which it has been renewing month-to-month, is a mandatory public well being measure. Canada additionally says it has assurances from the United States that “most” asylum-seekers will likely be returned to Canada to pursue refugee claims.
But the United States deported at the least one asylum-seeker turned again beneath this coverage, in accordance with the person’s lawyer and correspondence seen by Reuters. Others had been held in a detention centre.
Canada’s Public Safety Minister couldn’t instantly be reached for remark.
Burundian Apollinaire Nduwimana tried to cross into Canada in October at Roxham Road, which has grow to be a typical vacation spot for asylum-seekers skirting the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA).
Under the STCA, asylum-seekers crossing at a proper port of entry alongside the Canada-U.S. border are circled and are sometimes held in U.S. immigration detention. Last month, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the contested settlement after a decrease court docket dominated the pact violated asylum-seekers’ elementary rights beneath the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Nduwimana aimed to keep away from being turned again beneath the STCA, solely to be turned again beneath the brand new coverage. Canadian border officers handed him to U.S. authorities, who, he says, introduced him to the immigration detention centre at Batavia, New York.
According to his attorneys, U.S. authorities tried a number of instances to deport him to Burundi, to which Canada has deferred deportations for causes of humanitarian disaster.
Nduwimana is just not immediately affected by this authorized motion. But his case demonstrates the potential repercussions of this coverage, attorneys say.
He was allowed to enter Canada beneath an exemption to the turn-back coverage after being detained for 5 months. He has now filed a refugee declare.
He was one in every of 9 turned-back asylum-seekers granted a nationwide curiosity exemption letter by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino. According to the federal government, seven have come to Canada.
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