The Safe Third Country Agreement: a tool for securitization at Canada's southern border
LE3 .A278 2019
Mutlu, Can E.
Bachelor of Arts
The creation and implementation of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) between Canada and the United States came as a response to the September 11 attacks that resulted in calls for increased border security. This thesis addresses one of the ways in which the increased level of security affects the safety of migration. I argue that the STCA securitizes Canada’s southern border, further narrowing legal channels for asylum seekers to enter Canada. Through a discourse analysis, government documents and policy as well as news coverage are examined in order to understand the consequences of the STCA. By examining this through a securitization lens, I find that the Safe Third Country Agreement narrows the category of eligibility for asylum seekers and acts as a blanket ban on asylum claims from people who first land in the U.S. with a very small group of exceptions. This overarching agreement instead pushes people to enter Canada irregularly in order to access the Canadian asylum system. While the agreement focuses on each country effectively meeting its obligations to refugees according to international agreements, its implementation undermines these commitments. The emphasis on security of Canadian citizens puts the needs of asylum seekers themselves at the bottom of the list of government priorities and makes the refusal to address the inadequacies of the STCA a source of risk. Instead of focusing on new agreements addressing irregular migration, the Canadian government needs to address the inadequacies of the STCA. Without any solutions, the STCA will continue to perpetuate irregular migration and make migration from the U.S. to Canada between ports of entry dangerous to those who see it as their only option.
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