Immigrant advocate denounces new plan to limit Caribbean asylum seekers


The New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC), has described as “unfathomably cruel” a plan by the United States and Canada to limit the entry of Caribbean and other asylum seekers at their borders.

NYIC, an umbrella policy and advocacy organization representing over 200 immigrant and refugee rights groups throughout New York, denounced the decision, saying that it “recklessly endangers the lives of asylum seekers” while demanding expanded protections for asylum seekers.

“Asylum seekers flee violent conditions to build better futures for themselves and their families,” Murad Awawdeh, NYIC executive director, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), adding “they undergo extreme journeys across thousands of miles in search of safety and relief.

“To now restrict the movement of asylum seekers is to recklessly endanger their lives. Even Canada’s plan to provide a new refugee program for only 15,000 asylum seekers is a slap in the face. It is no substitute for both countries to honor their humanitarian commitments to offer asylum to all those who need it.

“President Biden cannot continue to shirk his responsibilities and take pages out of the xenophobic Republican playbook for political gain. He must honor his promise to protect asylum seekers by welcoming them with open arms,” Awawdeh added.

Last weekend in a joint statement following their meeting in Ottawa, US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Los Angeles Declaration on Migration and Protection “enshrines our belief that irregular migration requires a regional approach centered on expanding legal pathways and humane border management and recognizes that we must address the underlying economic and security drivers of migration.

“The United States and Canada remain committed partners in advancing the principles of the Declaration. As part of its commitment to these principles, Canada will welcome an additional 15,000 migrants on a humanitarian basis from the Western Hemisphere over the course of the year to continue expanding safe, regular pathways offered throughout the hemisphere as an alternative to irregular migration, with a path to economic opportunities.

“Additionally, US and Canadian officials are now poised to implement an agreement to apply the terms of the Safe Third Country Agreement to asylum seekers who cross between ports of entry, which we anticipate will deter irregular migration at our shared border,” the statement continued. “We will remain in close coordination as we work to implement this new agreement.”

Both leaders also said they “remain concerned about deteriorating security in Haiti, committed to increasing international support for the Haitian people, including through security and humanitarian assistance, enhanced support for the Haitian National Police, and by holding accountable those who undermine Haiti’s stability.”

Haitians and Cubans have been among the refugees seeking to enter the United States through its southern borders.


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