STCA Agreement: Everything You Need to Know
The STCA Agreement, or Safe Third Country Agreement, is a treaty between the United States and Canada that governs refugee and asylum claims. The agreement requires that individuals seeking asylum in either country must make their claim in the first country they arrive in, unless they qualify for an exception. This means that if an individual arrives in Canada from the United States, they cannot make an asylum claim in Canada and must return to the United States to do so.
The purpose of the STCA Agreement is to manage asylum claims in a way that is fair and efficient for both countries. By requiring individuals to make their asylum claim in the first country they arrive in, the agreement helps prevent “asylum shopping,” where individuals move from country to country in search of the best asylum policies.
Under the agreement, there are some exceptions to the rule that individuals must make their asylum claim in the first country they arrive in. These exceptions include:
– Family member exception: If an individual has a family member in Canada who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, they may be able to make an asylum claim in Canada.
– Unaccompanied minor exception: If an individual is an unaccompanied minor (under 18 years old) and arrives in Canada, they may be able to make an asylum claim in Canada.
– Documented exceptions: If an individual has certain documentation, such as a visa or work permit, they may be able to make an asylum claim in Canada.
The STCA Agreement has been controversial, with some arguing that it unfairly limits the rights of asylum seekers. In 2017, a legal challenge was launched against the agreement in Canada, arguing that it violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In July 2020, a federal judge ruled that the agreement is unconstitutional because it violates the guarantee of life, liberty, and security of the person under Section 7 of the Charter.
Despite this ruling, the STCA Agreement remains in effect as the Canadian government has appealed the decision and the agreement has not been rescinded. The Trump administration also threatened to withdraw from the agreement in late 2018, but this decision was later reversed.
In conclusion, the STCA Agreement is an important treaty between the United States and Canada that governs how asylum claims are managed. While the agreement has been controversial, it remains in effect for now and will continue to shape how asylum claims are handled in the future.