Amnesty International urges Liberals to suspend refugee agreement with U.S.

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OTTAWA — Amnesty International is calling on the Canadian government to suspend its Safe Third Country agreement with the United States in light of a controversial new refugee policy implemented this week by the Trump administration.

The group says the policy no longer guarantees asylum seekers the same legal rights as those offered in Canada and could see some migrants sent back to countries where they face risks of violence and persecution.

Under the Safe Third Country agreement, asylum seekers arriving in Canada from the U.S. must file a refugee claim in America as it is considered safe.

But refugee agencies worry those migrants could now be at risk of deportation after the Trump administration said anyone arriving at the southern border cannot file for refugee protection if they failed to file a protection claim while moving through another country.

The move would disqualify thousands of migrants who have travelled through Central America and Mexico.

A spokesperson for Border Security Minister Bill Blair says Canada still deems the U.S. a safe country governed by the rule of law, but adds that American rules and policies are always being reviewed.