On Refugee Rights Day, it’s time for Canada to step up.

There’s a moral necessity to recognize and address the refugee crisis on our own continent.

Kim Samuel and Jessica Farber

IOM / Rafael Rodríguez. Central American migrants arriving in the town of Matías Romero, Oaxaca in November 2018

A 2017 Médecins Sans Frontières report revealed that 68.3% of migrants surveyed in Mexico reported being victims of violent attacks on their journey.

It’s increasingly evident: The United States, under the Trump Administration, is not willing to be a good faith partner in upholding the rights of refugees. The US policy of perfunctory detention and deportation is not compatible with a human rights approach.

In 2017, Canada resettled only 28 refugees from Central America.

Without resettlement, migrants fleeing violence have few legal or safe pathways to arrive on our soil. If a refugee succeeds in making it all the way through Mexico to the border with the United States, she would then have to travel all the way up to the Canadian border and cross irregularly in order to claim asylum. According to the Safe Third Country Agreement, if she attempts to claim asylum at an official border crossing, she would be turned back under the premise that she should have sought asylum in the United States.

Founder, Samuel Centre for Social Connectedness. Fierce believer in the right to belong.

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