February 3, 2017
The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen
Minister of Immigration
365 Laurier Avenue West 365
The Right Honorable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Serge Cormier
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
In the names of all those affected by the Executive Order signed by President Trump on January 27, 2017, I write to urge you to suspend the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement.
This Agreement requires that the United States continue to meet the legislative definition of a safe third country. This definition includes a requirement to meet a “high standard with respect to the protection of human rights” and the maintenance of an “open democracy with independent courts, separation of powers and constitutional guarantees of essential human rights and fundamental freedoms.”
President Trump’s Executive Order banning refugees from seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the U.S. for 90 days represents a serious challenge to this legislative definition of a safe third country. Trump’s statements during his election campaign that he is open to considering the use of torture provides further evidence of this challenge. Therefore, Canada must exercise its right under the terms of this Agreement to suspend it for three months, pending review.
This action would represent a concrete step in your government’s stated commitment to welcoming those who are fleeing persecution and war, regardless of their religious background.