World Media

US, Canada 'perplexed' about migrant surge into Canada, Kelly says

US, Canada 'perplexed' about migrant surge into Canada, Kelly says

Canada is enforcing border laws and is willing to put more resources in place to deal with the influx of asylum-seekers from the United States, federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Saturday.

Article 31 of the convention says states can not impose penalties on refugees who enter or are present in those states "without authorization, provided they present themselves without delay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or presence".

U.S. refugees who cross at an unguarded part of the border are arrested, but once on Canadian soil, they are allowed to claim asylum.

Under the UN Convention on Refugees, anyone inside Canada who makes a refugee claim has to have a hearing.

The subject of asylum seekers crossing away from legal checkpoints is expected to be high on the list of priorities for discussion this Friday as U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly pay a visit to Ottawa.

The warnings from Canadian police are mostly ignored.

"We do not compromise on security", he said, adding that Ottawa was committed to continued collaboration with the United States while protecting Canadian rights.

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The number of illicit border-crossings has jumped in recent months, following the US government's plans to limit immigration and step up deportations.

Goodale says the meeting left many questions unresolved.

Another recent executive order from Trump excluded non-U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents from the protections of the U.S. Privacy Act when it comes to personally identifiable information.

Lt. -Gen. (Ret'd) Andrew Leslie, the parliamentary secretary to the foreign affairs minister who helps stickhandle Canada-U.S. relations for the Trudeau government was at the photo op and also spoke with Goodale later in the day.

The good news is the Liberal cabinet is now taking the issue of illegal migrants crossing our border from the US seriously.

"It's reflecting our commitment in global human rights and refugee law that persons fleeing persecution should not be punished for the way in which they flee, i.e. the way in which they may enter other countries' borders in order to seek safe haven", she said.

"That blizzard in Manitoba and Saskatchewan the last two nights has been pretty nasty stuff, and I think some attention needs to be paid to how people would actually expose themselves to that kind of physical danger", Goodale told reporters.

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The hundreds of people crossing at unofficial border points are breaking that law by showing up without the proper documentation to enter the country and by doing an end-run around an official border entry point.

Manley, who as Liberal deputy prime minster in 2002 signed the Canada-US Smart Border Declaration, which helped bring the Safe Third Country agreement into effect, was at pains to minimize the Trump administration's attack on democratic rights and its anti-immigrant witch-hunt. "No one is saying the RCMP should line up along the border and join arms and shoo people away".

"No one is suggesting the construction of a wall along the Canadian border".

The meeting "proved to be extremely important and extremely valuable", he said, as reported by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

"Many of them have only been in the United States a few days before they made the trek north, so it's something we're certainly trying to figure out".

Both Kelly and Goodale are in favor of an expanded preclearance program. Following-up on the commitments in March 2016, we discussed next steps to expand preclearance to new locations in air, rail, land, and marine modes.

He noted there were "recourse measures" available to people who wish to lodge a complaint about treatment at the border.

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They are allowed to follow normal refugee-claim procedures and are usually released and cared for by a non-profit agency until their case is heard.


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