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It's time to rethink Canada's refugee agreement with the U.S.
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February 8, 2018
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Canada Can Welcome Salvadoran Refugees

Earlier this month, the United States government announced an end to the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of some 200,000 Salvadorans. Now, they’ll face deportation if they fail to leave the United States by September 2019. For most of them, returning to El Salvador is not an option due to the threats of violence throughout the region. 

But due to something called Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), they also will not be able to claim refugee status in Canada. The STCA establishes the U.S. as a 'safe' country. This means that any refugees coming to Canada from the U.S., regardless of their country of origin, are not able to make a refugee claim at an official land border crossing. 

Fortunately, pressure against the STCA has been mounting. In July 2017, Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, and the Canadian Council of Churches joined in a legal challenge aimed at scrapping the policy altogether. They believe the United States is not a safe country for all refugees. 

This is not just an issue for Salvadorans. Those from Sudan and Nicaragua have also recently had their status in the U.S. terminated. Within the next year, individuals from South Sudan, Honduras, Syria, Nepal, Somalia, and Yemen will also see their TPS expire.

If the STCA is not rescinded, it will mean hundreds of thousands of people will be sent back to dangerous situations. They deserve access to Canada's refugee system. 

Last year, CPJ wrote to Minister Hussen asking that the STCA be rescinded. Use our letter to write to the Minister letting him know why you're concerned about the STCA.

Learn more about the Safe Third Country Agreement.
Facebook Video
"Canada Can Welcome Salvadoran Refugees"
Project Ploughshares
"The legal challenge to the STCA: What’s at stake?"
By Sonal Marwah and Deborah Mebude
CPJ.ca
"Safe Third Country Agreement: FAQ"
the Catalyst
"Canada’s Not So Safe Agreement"
By Deborah Mebude

CPJ in the Community

On January 19, CPJ and International Justice Mission co-hosted Jesus + Justice in Ottawa. The half-day conference was designed to encourage and equip Christians in Ottawa to work together for God’s just kingdom through prayer, acts of charity, and advocacy. Mark Wollenberg of International Justice Mission (below) gave the keynote address. CPJ staff co-led workshops on poverty in Canada and refugee rights. 

CPJ's public justice intern Deborah Mebude spoke at a panel at the University of Ottawa as part of the student-run Conflict and Human Rights Conference on January 20. Deb presented on ecumenical organizing at a workshop on the STCA and explained CPJ’s current advocacy efforts to encourage the government to rescind the STCA.

Deb and Joe Gunn, CPJ executive director, were joined by the Sisters of St Joseph of Toronto and Becoming Neighbours in Toronto for two refugee advocacy training sessions. Deb also joined staff from the Christian Reformed Centre for Public Dialogue and World Renew in Toronto earlier this month. In a house meeting, they met with refugee advocates to share ideas on how to discuss the issue of wait time with MPs.

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