The agreement helps both governments better manage access to the refugee system in each country for people crossing the land border between Canada and the United States. The two countries signed the agreement on 5 December 2002 and came into force on 29 December 2004. Under the agreement, refugee claimants must apply in the first country they arrive between the United States or Canada, unless they are entitled to a waiver. For example, asylum seekers who are citizens of a country other than the United States and who arrive from the United States at the land border between Canada and the United States can only assert their rights to refugees in Canada if they fulfill an exception under the Safe Third Country Agreement. The Donald J. Trump government is urging Guatemala and several other Latin American countries to sign « safe third countries » agreements that would require migrants to seek asylum in countries where they travel rather than in the United States. But can these countries offer them security? Trump has insisted in recent months that secure third-party agreements be reached amid an increase in Central American migration to the United States. In May 2019, the number of migrants apprehended at the U.S. southern border exceeded 144,000, the highest monthly figure since 2006.
Meanwhile, Trump administration officials hope this is just the beginning of agreements with Brazil, El Salvador and Honduras. He said the United States was not considered « safe » under President Donald Trump. Under the U.S. Refugee Act of 1980, these agreements are not considered treaties, so they can be concluded without congressional approval. Asylum seekers can only be deported to countries where their lives are not threatened and where they have full access to fair asylum procedures. Concerns have been raised about the lack of security legislation for refugee protection in the United States. This security problem and argument give refugees legitimate reasons to turn around in Canada to lead a better life. On December 29, 2005, a group of refugee and human rights organizations (in Canada and the United States) launched legal action against the U.S. claim as a safe third country for asylum seekers. This action was supported by prominent figures such as Justice Michael Phelan of the Federal Court of Canada on November 29, 2007 and many others. Nevertheless, the Trudeau government has decided to appeal the decision to maintain an untenable agreement, at a time when the Trump administration`s racist and nativist policies make this all the more dangerous and illustrate the contradictions of refugee and immigration policy in Canada.
The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) requires ongoing review of all countries designated as safe third countries.