The agreements would effectively prevent migrants from seeking safety at the U.S. southern border — and continue to endanger the lives of thousands of people fleeing violence and poverty in the Northern Triangle region (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala) and other countries. Due to COVID-19, the United States has temporarily suspended the deportation of non-Guatemalan asylum seekers to Guatemala as part of its “Safe Third Country Agreement” This ruling came after reports revealed that the United States had deported dozens of infected migrants to Guatemala. The United States continues its scheduled flights to Guatemala. The agreement helps both governments better manage access to the refugee system in each country for people crossing the U.S.-country border. The two countries signed the agreement on 5 December 2002 and entered into force on 29 December 2004. The CCR continues to call on the Canadian government to withdraw from the Safe Third Country Agreement. The CCR participated in a legal challenge to deportation from the United States as a safe third country shortly after it went into effect. The Federal Court ruled that the United States is not a safe third country, but the decision was overturned on appeal for technical reasons (see here for more information).
While the decision focused specifically on cruel and damaging detention practices in the United States, which punish people for seeking safety, a large number of recent measures have virtually ended the right to seek asylum in the United States. In this virtual briefing, our interlocutors discussed the impact of the decision, its impact on the prolonged detention of asylum seekers and other attempts to outsource US asylum obligations (including the “Stay in Mexico” program and the multiplicity of recent illegal asylum agreements with Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras) and discussed how the US is regaining its position as a safe haven for asylum seekers Ellen. The briefing also included keynote speeches by Congressman Joaquin Castro, who has defended asylum and conducted several congressional investigations into asylum-related access and detention practices. . . .