Originally Posted by JM5
3) From what I've read on here, there's a "safe third country" or some such agreement in place between Canada and the US stating that our two nations consider each other's territory as safe and no-one coming from either country has a valid case to make a refugee claim in the other.
Just a clarification RE: STCA - it only applies at ports of entry
. That means border crossings, trains, planes, etc. It does not apply as soon as you're already in Canada
. That's why people are crossing irregularly and then presenting themselves to the authorities - it's the only way for them to apply for asylum because if they were to present themselves to a proper border crossing, the border officials would be forced to turn them away. Ironically enough, once asylum-seekers cross irregularly just a few kms away and are picked up by the RCMP, they're taken to those very same border checkpoints for security screening.
It's a completely different situation from, say, economic migrants from Central America crossing over into the US for under-the-table work. The refugee applicants crossing the Canadian border want
to get picked up by the RCMP so that they can go through security screening and start their refugee process.
It is illegal to cross the border (which is why people who do are picked up by the RCMP), but charges aren't usually pressed against people who did so to claim asylum.