To be clear, the issue mentioned in the title isn’t some new policy enacted by Canada’s legislature or executive action by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The “cancellation” of our Safe Third Country asylum agreement with our neighbors to the north came from a single judge who essentially ruled the treaty provision unconstitutional. And she’s not ordering the agreement to be terminated immediately. The government will have six months to wrestle these issues to the ground and either appeal the ruling or create some remedy to remove the constitutional issues. But while it may appear to some of you to be an attempted slap in the face to Washington, I would argue that it could be a tremendous gift. (More on that in a moment) The Associated Press has the details.
A Canadian court Wednesday invalidated the country’s Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, ruling elements of the law violate Canadian constitutional guarantees of life, liberty and security.
But Federal Court Justice Ann Marie McDonald delayed the implementation of her decision six months.
“I conclude that the provisions enacting the (safe third country agreement) infringe the guarantees in section 7 of the Charter,” McDonald wrote in her decision, referring to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom, part of Canada’s Constitution. “I have also concluded that the infringement is not justified under section 1 of the Charter.”
Before anyone breaks out their “Blame Canada” t-shirts or starts protesting too loudly, we should take a closer look at what such an agreement would mean for both countries. I say this because, believe it or not, this could actually work out to our favor.
Under the current agreement, any potential immigrants, legal or illegal, who present themselves at an authorized border-crossing station requesting asylum are sent back to the United States (being the “Safe Third Country” in this instance) to wait here while their claims are processed. But if they cross illegally at any location other than a recognized border-crossing station and then present themselves to authorities, they are released in Canada while their case is considered.
As the AP notes, Canada has quite a backlog of requests, though not as many as we have in America on the southern border. The migrants can wind up waiting for months or even years before a decision is made. And the Canadians have extremely generous social welfare programs that these migrants can take advantage of while they wait. That’s clearly a much more desirable situation than having to deal with ICE in the United States, so some of them were going to court in Canada to be allowed to stay even if they crossed at a border-crossing station. The judge appears to agree.
So with all of that said, where is the downside for the United States? We’ve already got tens of millions more illegal aliens in our country than we know what to do with and there aren’t enough immigration enforcement agents in the world to detain and deport them all in a reasonable amount of time. If any of these migrants prefer to go be a burden on Canada’s resources rather than ours, why fight this decision? After all, it’s not the United States saying they have to take them. This is a Canadian decision.
You want them? Hey… keep them. The more the merrier on the Canadian side of the border as far as I’m concerned. Rather than complaining about this judge’s decision, I think we should all lift a cocktail to the north and toast her wise, compassionate approach to the subject. Here’s to you, Judge McDonald. Cheers!