Canada frees U.S. asylum-seekers from ‘inhumane’ policy preventing them from entering the country

Photo Canada has lifted the policy that has for years turned back asylum-seekers crossing the U.S. border without proper documentation, calling it “inhumane” after claims of abuse have been made. The policy, known as…

Canada frees U.S. asylum-seekers from ‘inhumane’ policy preventing them from entering the country

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Canada has lifted the policy that has for years turned back asylum-seekers crossing the U.S. border without proper documentation, calling it “inhumane” after claims of abuse have been made.

The policy, known as the Mexican visa requirement, had been in place since 1995, but Trump’s immigration policies last year led some migrants to choose to walk through the snow between the two countries in order to avoid going through the ports of entry. Once on Canadian soil, they could request asylum and eventually gain entry into the U.S.

Officials said on Thursday that the embassy will now assess new claims on a case-by-case basis, but noted that such policies do not require further approval from the Canadian government.

“Admittedly, these can be challenging circumstances for migrants,” U.S. Ambassador to Canada Kelly Craft said in a statement, “but their safety must be the highest priority.”

The change in Canadian policy does, however, present an opportunity for the United States to improve its relationship with one of its most important allies. The U.S. and Canada are already renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement, and the two nations have been at odds over the future of asylum-seekers as well as who will pay for the U.S.-Canada border wall.

Officials said that they have prioritized processing asylum claims from recent arrivals in Canada.

“Asylum-seekers entering through irregular migration channels should not be turned away, but instead be provided the information and support they need,” said Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board Chairwoman Jean-Pierre Fortin.

The new policy is drawing anger from the legal community in the United States.

“This is a policy made by a radical, anti-immigrant president who’s not concerned about human beings,” said Phil McCraw, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “This ruling won’t simply remove a Band-Aid.”

Canada announced last year that it would offer employment insurance benefits to immigrants who had been living in the U.S. without legal documentation, and to immigrants who come from the same countries that Trump mentioned in his campaign rhetoric.

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