Pact allowing Canada to return asylum claimants to U.S. is constitutional: court

DM

The Federal Court of Appeal has found that a pact between Ottawa and Washington to turn back asylum-seekers entering Canada from the United States does not violate the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A three-judge panel ruled unanimously Thursday to allow the Canadian government’s appeal that argued the Federal Court misinterpreted the law when it declared in July that the safe third country agreement breaches constitutional guarantees of life, liberty and security. The Federal Court’s declaration of invalidity was suspended for six months and later extended, leaving the law in place for now. Under the bilateral agreement, which took effect in 2004, Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection. It means Canada can turn back people seeking asylum who arrive at land ports of entry along the Canada-U.S. border on the basis they must pursue their claims in the United States, the country where they first arrived.

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