OTTAWA – The federal Immigration Department says it has no indication a controversial move by U.S. President Donald Trump to suspend refugee resettlement for 120 days will have an impact on the American asylum system.
For that reason, immigration officials say, there’s no reason to open up the existing agreement between Canada and the U.S. that governs claims for asylum made at the border.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen had already suggested the so-called safe third country agreement would remain untouched as Canada observed from afar the impact of Trump’s decision to suspend some immigration programs for 90 days and all refugee resettlement programs for 120 days.
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But the statement from his department more fully lays out the government’s rationale in the face of pressure from advocates and parliamentarians for a policy response to the U.S. travel ban.
The department says the U.S. order focuses on resettled refugees, but does not comment on the U.S. asylum program that handles those who show up in the U.S. seeking protection on their own.
The safe third country agreement, one immigration official says, is largely about that system and since Trump’s order doesn’t mention it, the agreement remains an important tool for both countries.