Safe Third Country Argument Essay

1852 Words 8 Pages
In 2004, Canada and the United States implemented the Safe Third Country Agreement – a bilateral agreement modeled after the (then) Dublin Convention of the European Union (Macklin, 2005; Arbel, 2013). As a vital bilateral agreement between Canada and the United States, has the Safe Third Country Agreement caused more harmful implications surrounding refugee claimants than beneficial? Indeed, the Safe Third Country Agreement has caused adverse implications for refugee claimants, as a multitude of criticisms have been raised over issues pertaining to national and border security, international law, and gender politics.

First, “[m]any immigration restrictions adopted in the name of ‘national security’ violate the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers” and, thus, critics have raised concerns over the Safe Third Country
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According to Arbel (2013), “the STCA has proven effective in reducing refugee eligibility to enter Canada”; in fact, it was reported that, in the first year alone, “the number of claims lodged at the border declined by over 50 per cent” (Arbel, 2013, p.71). Considering the notable decline and how “the STCA applies only at land ports of entry,” “critics argue that it […] creates incentives for human smuggling” (Arbel, 2013, p.72). For example, in 2004, Colombia was “the top country of origin for claimants in Canada,” “of which 97 percent made their claims at the land border” (Settlage, 2012, p.170). As reported by the Canadian Council on Refugees, “[f]rom January to November 2005, the number of claims made by Columbians dropped by 70 percent” (Settlage, 2012, pp.170-171). To this point, Arbel (2013) denotes that the STCA altered the Canadian border to “a ‘smart’ border’” and, thus, made “it virtually impossible for land-bound claimants who do not satisfy one of the STCA’s exceptions to enter Canada, unless doing so clandestinely” (p.75 &78). Further, Amnesty International claims “that a likely ironic result of implementation of the

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