Although Mexico is over two thousand miles away, the refugee caravan currently making its way to the southern United States border should raise some alarms in Canada.
According to estimates, the size of the caravan is anywhere between 7 and 10 thousand and is expected to grow.
South Americans, mainly on foot, or packed like sardines into trucks, are making the thousand mile trek for a chance to seek asylum in the United States or beyond.
Critics calling for Canada to end the Safe Third Country Agreement
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This would entail political suicide on the part of our government.
Had Canada been in the place of the United States, accepting a thousands-strong horde of illegal immigrants into the country would have disastrous consequences.
Yet by all accounts the United States is still a safe country for immigrants. Despite dubious claims of “anti-immigrant rhetoric”, Canadian officials agree that the US “continues to meet the requirements for designation as a safe third country”.
These requirements are based on UN human rights and refugee conventions.
As is often the case with arguments for more open borders, they come from a place of moral superiority where personal sentiments are seen as superior to international convention and law.
It takes two to tango for border security
Despite the agreement’s many faults and loopholes, it is a necessary protection which prevents Canada from becoming a haven for illegal immigrants. However, for the agreement to work it requires enforcement on both ends.
On Canada’s end, it means closing access points instead of making them more accessible and speeding up the deportation process for those with illegitimate claims.
At the same time, our southern neighbours can screen for deceptive travel visa applications which are commonly used as pretense to cross the border into Canada.
Opportunists will look to Canada for what they can’t find in the United States
A precedent has been set. Canada’s loose border controls and Justin Trudeau’s refusal to turn away those taking advantage of Canadian hospitality means that it might be an eventual target for human smugglers who are taking advantage of people down on their luck.
If the migrant caravan is allowed into the United States it is foreseeable that a certain number of those people will be heading towards the Canadian border.
International image is at stake
Canadian leaders need to come to a consensus that the sovereignty of North American national borders is of the utmost importance.
Any further activity that would lead to making our border or the United States’ border more porous would cause irreparable damage to our integrity and international image as a world leader.
At this point the Safe Third Country Agreement is all we have and US and Canadian leaders must work within its boundaries to keep each other accountable to meet its ends.
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