Canada is breaking the law with treatment of asylum seekers during COVID-19, claiming a new legal challenge


Canada prohibits asylum from refugees, crossing the US border at irregular entry points during the COVID-19 pandemic, posing a new court challenge.

The challenge filed on Tuesday by the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers stated that the government was violating its international obligations to refugees.

It alleges that by turning such asylum seekers back into detention in the United States and possible deportation to their home countries – the Canadian government is exposing them to the possibility of torture, persecution, and even death.

Maureen Silkoff, president and co-counsel of the association, says, “We have started this challenge to give voice to vulnerable people during the epidemic that is seeking Canadian protection, and those who are stricter, and who are stricter.” Suffer the consequences. ” matter.

“Refugee claimants can be immediately handed over to US border officials, and then face deportation to their country of origin without a chance to make their case in Canada. This is illegal.”

According to a legal application against the Ministers of Justice, Immigration and Public Safety, Ottawa has issued 14 orders to the Council under the Quarantine Act to restrict traffic on the Canada-United States border to control the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic .

While those who arrive at an official port of entry are allowed to enter if they meet certain exemptions – such as being a family member in Canada – others try to cross the points without entry. Are, like those on Roxham Road, Quebec, sent back to the United States for American citizens, except for stateless habitual American residents or some irresponsible minors.

Silkoff said advocates have seen a number of cases in which potential refugees have been brought back to the border and detained and facing deportation from the US

Just last month, Starr reported on the case of Roberto Carlos Terón Rivera, a Nicaragua man, and his unsuccessful attempt to cross the border to seek asylum in Canada and rejoin his wife. He was handed over to the US authorities and barred from expulsion.

The legal application alleges that the government has failed to consider “reasonable options” for people seeking refugee protection in Canada in their border measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

In particular, the legal challenge is asking that refugee claimants be allowed to enter and quarantine, like many other passengers, whose entry is considered necessary.

“, We have made an exception for essential activists, actors, professional athletes and family members of Canadians and permanent residents, and many thousands of people have entered Canada at the US border during the epidemic because we have believed their visit is necessary , ”Says Dorn Waldman, a co-counselor in the case.

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“For those seeking refugee protection at the border, at least we can ensure that we follow the law. This means that they cannot be denied fair trial in our refugee system. When they face prison in the United States, they are returned, endangering this right.

A spokesman for Justice Minister David Lemaity declined to comment on the matter, saying the matter was active before the courts.

Nicholas Keung is a Toronto-based reporter covering immigration for the star. Follow her on Twitter: @ Ning

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