The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has revealed that it is looking at a proposal to make amendments to a border pact with Canada to manage asylum seekers, although the immigration minister of Canada says that no formal discussions on the topic are currently taking place.
In an email, a spokesperson for the US government says that Canada has proposed amending the Safe Third County Agreement and that the proposal is currently being reviewed by the Department of Homeland Security. However, it was mentioned that there are no plans for a decision to be announced anytime soon.
The spokesperson added that there is already collaboration between border patrol agencies in both nations and that agencies of the US government, including the likes of the State Department and the DHS, are working with the Canadian government to gain a better understanding of the evolving flow of asylum seekers heading north.
Methods being undertaken include a joint analysis by Customs and Border Patrol and Canada Border Services Agency. There is also collaboration between the State Department, US Immigration, Customs Enforcement overseas consulates and US embassies.
According to Canadian Immigration Minister, Ahmed Hussen, no formal negotiations are underway but he pointed out that the Safe Third Country Agreement is likely due for an update given it was first implemented back in 2004.
Hussen last year rejected calls for the suspension of the agreement but now acknowledges there is always room for improvement while calling the bilateral pact a ‘great tool’ for the management of asylum seekers.