The United States Has Consciously Become a Pariah Nation
Of course, once the pandemic hit, and the president* responded by not responding, other countries closed themselves to American citizens. We went from consciously becoming a pariah nation to consciously becoming a biological pariah nation. And now, thanks to a Canadian court, we are demonstrated that, in the eyes of our friendliest ally, we have consciously become an authoritarian biological pariah nation.
Under the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), asylum seekers who arrive at a formal Canada-U.S. border crossing going in either direction are turned back and told to apply for asylum in the first country they arrived in. Lawyers for refugees who had been turned away at the Canadian border challenged the pact, saying the United States does not qualify as a “safe” country under President Donald Trump. Federal Court Judge Ann Marie McDonald ruled that the agreement was in violation of a section of Canada’s Charter of Rights that says laws or state actions that interfere with life, liberty and security must conform to the principles of fundamental justice. McDonald suspended her decision for six months to give Parliament a chance to respond. The agreement remains in place during that time.
I fear that Judge McDonald is going to discover to her great sorrow that nobody is going to take advantage of the break she is giving them as regards her decision. The United States is going to continue to incarcerate adults and children in plague-ridden detention facilities until if or when this administration is fumigated out of Washington.
Nedira Jemal Mustefa, among the refugees turned back and on whose behalf a challenge was launched, described her time in solitary confinement in the United States as “a terrifying, isolating and psychologically traumatic experience,” according to the court ruling. “Canada cannot turn a blind eye to the consequences that befell Ms. Mustefa in its efforts to adhere to the STCA. The evidence clearly demonstrates that those returned to the U.S. by Canadian officials are detained as a penalty,” the judge wrote in her decision. Mustefa, an Ethiopian now in New York City, told Reuters she was relieved. “At the end of the day, we are all humans,” she said. “No one deserves to be mistreated in such a way.”
A Canadian court has ruled that the United States of America has adopted a national policy that is functionally equivalent to the situation in the 1930’s when we sent boatloads of Jews back to Europe to be slaughtered. Except in this modern derivation, Canada is the United States and the United States is Germany. Judge McDonald has decided that she will not be part of this historical reboot.
Canada has sought to stem the tide of asylum seekers who flowed into the country starting in 2016, after Trump promised to crack down on illegal immigration. Canada has closed its border with the United States to non-essential travel because of the coronavirus pandemic.In March, it said it would no longer accept irregular migrants trying to cross the border and would instead return them to U.S. authorities, who have said they will swiftly deport them back to their home countries. The Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers said Canada should revisit that decision, given Wednesday’s ruling, and also revoke a 2019 rule that makes individuals ineligible for Canadian asylum if they had already filed for asylum in the United States.
Refugee advocates in Canada applauded Judge McDonald for recognizing the obvious.
From the CBC:
For Hani Ataan Al-Ubeady, the director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg, the discussion around the Safe Third Country Agreement brings back memories from three years ago, when large numbers of asylum seekers were crossing the border in Emerson, Man. Even then, he felt the agreement needed revisions. "Many people, and refugee advocates particularly, were concerned about the fact that sending people back to the United States may not be necessarily a safe place," Al-Ubeady said. "A safe place is when people say and feel that they are safe. It's not a safe place because it is written on a piece of paper.”
The same can be said of the Constitution. Sing it with us.
"...but at least we know we’re free..."