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Canada, U.S. and the politics of refugees

Since 2005, Canada and the U.S. have managed the flow of refugees at their shared land border crossings through the Safe Third Country Agreement.

Under the agreement, refugee claimants are required to seek protection of the first country they arrived in.

But there are some exceptions to the agreement that allow refugee claimants who arrived in the U.S. first to cross the border to Canada and make their claim here.

The exceptions include:

• A family member living in Canada who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, protected person or successful refugee claimant. A qualifying family member includes: spouse or common-law partner, legal guardian, child, father or mother, brother or sister, grandfather or grandmother, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, grandchild;

• Unaccompanied minors under age 18 who are unmarried with no parent or legal guardian in Canada or the U.S.;

• Holders of certain documents, including a valid Canadian visa, valid work permit, valid study permit, a travel document for permanent residents or refugees;

• A national of a country, such as Mexico, where visas are not required to enter Canada but are required to enter…

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