Safe Third Country Agreement: What is it? What is new? What are the exceptions?

U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced changes to the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) on Friday. The STCA, signed in 2002 and which came into effect in 2004, originally meant asylum seekers crossing into either Canada or the United States at formal border crossings were turned back and told to apply for asylum in the first “safe” country they arrived in. The deal announced on Friday comes in the form of a change to how the STCA is applied.

Until now the STCA prevented Canadian law enforcement from turning back asylum seekers who enter Canada from the United States at border locations that are not official ports of entry. Now it applies to the entire 6,416-km land border, and will allow both countries to turn back asylum seekers at unofficial border crossings. Roxham Road, which had become an unofficial crossing for asylum seekers into Canada, closed at midnight on Saturday.

However, there are exceptions that are important to be aware of. Learn about them and get the basic information about the Safe Third Country Agreement in the following document, updated by Bridges Not Borders – Créons des Ponts.

Click here to view/download the document if you can’t see it in this page.

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