A safe third country is a state in which a person passing through that country could have applied for refugee protection. In Canada, subsection 102(2) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act sets out the criteria for designating a country as a safe third country. However, the “legal carding” status should not prevent federal courts from challenging the initial deportation from Mexico or Guatemala as a “safe third country.” Lawyers can begin to develop strategies on legal, constitutional and administrative procedural arguments pending a possible agreement with Mexico or Guatemala. Congress can also monitor the Trump administration`s attempts to use safe third-country agreements to block asylum seekers. The CCR continues to call on the Canadian government to withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement. The CCR participated in a legal challenge to deportation from the United States as a safe third country shortly after it went into effect. The Federal Court ruled that the United States is not a safe third country, but the decision was overturned on appeal for technical reasons (see here for more information). The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requires the ongoing review of all countries designated as safe third countries. The review procedure aims to ensure that the conditions that led to expulsion as a safe third country remain met. The Safe Third Country Agreement applies to refugee claimants who wish to enter Canada or the United States at land border crossings between Canada and the United States (including railways). It also applies at airports when a person seeking refugee protection in country B has been classified as a non-refugee in country A and is in transit through country A as part of his or her removal. In particular, the legislation requires that the review of a designated country be based on the following four factors: the initiative for safe third country agreements with Mexico and Guatemala is part of the well-published U.S.
policy to restrict access to protection in the United States for adults and children fleeing Central America. For Mexico, the clock is ticking after Mexico agreed to sign a “Safe Third Country” agreement if it could not significantly reduce the number of Central Americans arriving at the U.S. border, with assessments in two 45-day intervals, the first on July 25, 2019. In addition to the exemption criteria provided for in the agreement, refugee claimants must continue to meet all other admission criteria of the relevant immigration legislation for the country in which they are applying for status. While refugee claimants entering Canada at official crossing points are generally returned to the United States, they are not returned when crossing at locations between designated ports of entry. In this case, their claims are heard and many immigration experts consider this to be a gap in the agreement.   Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, in force since December 2004, Canada and the United States declare the other country safe from refugees and close the door to most applicants at the U.S.-Canada border. The Attorney General`s finding of the validity of a country`s “safe” classification should be reviewed in federal courts.
However, the limitation of judicial review provisions, which were added to the Immigration Act during the Clinton administration, effectively prevents some asylum seekers from negotiating the case and states, “No court is responsible for verifying a decision of the Attorney General” under the safe third country exception. The Trump administration`s search for safe third-country agreements with Mexico and Guatemala is contrary to both U.S. and international law on the protection of asylum seekers. Members of Congress, interest representatives in Mexico, Guatemala and the United States – as well as asylum seekers themselves – know that neither country can offer migrants legal protection or procedure. . . .