Elizabeth May says Canada must welcome asylum seekers wanting to flee the United States because it isn’t a secure country for racialized communities under the president’s leadership.
“We must not turn them away because Donald Trump has made the United States no longer safe,” the federal Green parliamentary leader told reporters in Ottawa Wednesday.
May called the press conference to address the protests against anti-Black racism that have erupted after last week’s police killing of George Floyd, a Black man, in Minneapolis. The situation has been made more dire by Trump’s incendiary words and actions, she said.
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She noted Trump’s threat to use military action on protesters, his tweets that were flagged by Twitter as glorifying violence, and the National Guard’s use of tear gas on peaceful demonstrators in Washington, D.C. this week to clear a path for a presidential photo-op.
May reiterated her party’s position that it is time for the Liberal government to suspend Canada’s Safe Third Country agreement with the U.S.
“It’s clear that if you’re Muslim, if you’re Black, if you’re Latina, if you’re Indigenous, the United States is not a safe country,” she said.
According to the 2004 pact, Canada and the U.S. recognize each other as safe places for refugee claimants to seek protection. Both countries reject most asylum claims made at land border crossings on the basis that people should instead seek refuge in the first country they arrive in.
However, in what has been called a loophole, the Safe Third Country agreement only applies at official border points. Thousands of people have crossed into Canada from the U.S. irregularly over several years in order to make claims.
In a move that outraged refugee advocates, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in March that asylum seekers who try to come into Canada irregularly from the U.S. would be sent back as...