CUPE National President Mark Hancock sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau today, calling on him to suspend the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement.
Under Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement, refugee claimants are required to request refuge in the first safe country they arrive in. The United States is the only country that has been designated as a safe country under this agreement. MPs will hold an emergency debate in the House of Commons today on the impact of a travel and immigration crackdown in the U.S.
The full text of Mark Hancock’s letter follows.
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:
Safe Third Country Agreement
On behalf of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, I am writing to express our deep concern about the consequences of the Executive Order issued by United States President Donald Trump on January 27, 2017 (“Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Attacks by Foreign Nationals”).
I was pleased to read your recent comments that reiterated Canada’s support for individuals fleeing persecution, terror, and war. But without concrete action, those words are meaningless. I urge you to take all measures necessary to ensure the safety and security of refugees unfairly targeted by this Order.
Specifically, CUPE calls on the Government of Canada to suspend the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. Temporarily halting the resettlement of refugees to the U.S., and discriminating against refugees of Muslim faith or background, has already had a devastating impact on those fleeing violence and war. Under these circumstances, the U.S. can no longer be considered a “safe third country” as per the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement. Your government must show leadership, and can do so by putting in place procedures to process refugee applications from those affected by this Order who may seek refuge in Canada.
In addition, your government must increase the number of refugees accepted into Canada in 2017. The government’s plan to bring only 7,500 Government-Assisted Refugees and 16,000 Privately Sponsored Refugees into the country in 2017 must now be revised, and the policy allowing individuals from select countries to be considered for sponsorship without a UNHCR refugee certificate or equivalent must be reinstated.
I want to take this opportunity to express CUPE’s unequivocal support for those individuals and families, rendered vulnerable by unjust war and conflict, who seek safety and security
in Canada. This is a critical opportunity for the Canadian Government to express leadership on the world stage, and I sincerely hope you meet this challenge by welcoming more refugees into our country.