Canada government appeals ruling on asylum seekers

A member of the A/V team straightens Canadian flags in front of rolls of coated steel at Stelco in Hamilton before a visit by Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, spoke, Friday, June 29, 2018. Canada announced billions of dollars in retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. on Friday in a tit for tat response to the Trump administration's duties on Canadian steel and aluminum. (Peter Power/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said Friday the government is appealing a court ruling that struck down the Safe Third Country Agreement on refugees between Canada and the United States.

The Federal Court of Canada ruled last month that elements of the law underpinning the pact violate the constitutional guarantee of life, liberty and security. But it delayed implementation for six months, leaving the law in place until mid-January.

Under the agreement, which took effect in 2004, Canada and the U.S. recognize each other as safe places to seek protection. As a result, Canada can turn back potential refugees who arrive at ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border, saying they must pursue their claims in the U.S.

In a statement, Blair said there are factual and legal errors in some of the Federal Court’s key findings, and the government wants to ensure clarity on the legal framework governing asylum law.

Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees and the Canadian Council of Churches last year sued to overturn the agreement, arguing that the Canadian government has no guarantee that those returned to the United States will be safe because of the treatment of immigrants by the administration of President Donald Trump.