United States and Canada Safe Third Country Agreement, Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims of the Committee on the Judiciary, House of Representatives, One Hundred Seventh Congress, Second Session, October 16, 2002 [open pdf - 928KB]
From the opening statement of George W. Gekas: "On August the 30th, the Safe Third Country Agreement final draft text was initialed by our Administration as one point of the 30 point Ridge-Manley Smart Border Action Plan between the United States and Canada. This agreement would allow both countries to manage the flow of individuals seeking to access our respective asylum systems. Under the agreement if the alien seeks to travel from the United States to Canada through a land border port of entry to apply for asylum in Canada, the alien will generally be sent back to the U.S. to apply for asylum. If an alien travels from Canada to the United States for the same purposes, the alien must seek asylum in Canada, the first of the two countries in which the alien traveled. The intent is to prevent asylum shopping in both the U.S. and Canada, and it is possible between the two countries because both are parties to the protocol relating to the status of refugees. The theory behind the agreement is that an alien is safe in either country and should seek it in the first country in which the alien lands. The agreement is narrowly drafted, and if finalized, it would only apply to asylum claims made at land border ports of entry between Canada and the United States. It would not apply to aliens traveling through airports or seaports, nor would it apply to aliens who cross illegally between the two countries. In addition, the agreement would not apply to aliens who have already entered both countries. The agreement is prospective, not retroactive." Statements, letters, and materials submitted for the record include those of the following: George W. Gekas, Sheila Jackson Lee, Kelly Ryan, Joe Langlois, Mark Krikorian, Bill Frelick, Zoe Lofgren, Dan Stein, Bethany Olson, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.
Serial No. 111
Government Printing Office, Federal Digital System: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/