June 29, 2018
The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:
Re: Take a Stand Against the Trump Administration’s Immigration Policies
We are writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association, which is a national non-for-profit organization representing the interests of Latin American and Hispanic lawyers, National Committee on Accreditation candidates, Foreign Legal Consultants, articling students, Law Practice Program candidates, and law students across Canada. Our organization works to help our members grow their business, access connections and peer support, prepare for an ever changing legal environment, and celebrate the uniqueness of the Hispanic and Latin American community.
Although our organization seldom weighs in on political matters, we feel compelled to voice how deeply disturbed we are by the recent cruel treatment of migrant families crossing through the Mexico/U.S.A border. Canada is a country of settlers and immigrants and we believe in due process and the dignity of the migrant.
We are also concerned about the potential backlash against the Latin American and Hispanic community as a result of the Trump Administration’s current immigration policies. As such, we ask that you stand up and condemn these policies in the House of Commons. Thousands of people immigrate to Canada every year through various streams, including the refugee stream. Our country is proof that the enforcement of immigration laws can co-exist with due process and the dignity of the migrant. Remind our American neighbours that a country can govern with heart, and not cruelty, in administering its immigration system.
Given the ongoing cruelty of the Trump administration in the enforcement of its immigration laws, we urge the Canadian government to immediately suspend and withdraw from the Canada-U.S.A. Safe Third Country Agreement so that migrants who do make their way to Canada via the U.S.A. are not turned back at the border.
The circumstances under which this agreement was signed approximately 14 years ago are no longer in place. The U.S.A is no longer a safe country for migrants, as evidenced by its most recent policies. In order for Canada to maintain its international human rights obligations, it can no longer send back migrants to a country where their rights are violated. Where children are separated from their families and put in cages. Where families escaping persecution are sent to military detention centres indefinitely.
Canadians must not stay silent. We ask that you please advise us as soon as possible of further steps you and the Canadian government are taking to protect the rights of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.
Yours very truly,
Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA)
CC: The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship