A Canadian federal court ruled that an asylum agreement the nation has with the US is invalid because America violates the human rights of refugees.
The Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), in place since 2004, requires refugee claimants to request protection in the first safe country they reach.
But on Wednesday, a judge declared the deal unconstitutional due to the chance that the US will imprison the migrants.
The ruling marks a major victory for Canadian immigration activists.
Lawyers for refugees who had been turned away at the Canadian border had challenged the agreement, arguing that the US did not qualify as “safe” for asylum seekers.
Nedira Jemal Mustefa, one of the refugees forced to remain in the US, told the court her time in US solitary confinement was “a terrifying, isolating and psychologically traumatic experience,” according to the court ruling.
United States and Canada share 5,525 mile border and its the longest border between any two countries in the world.
Since 2017, when President Donald Trump took office promising a crackdown on immigration, some 58,000 people have crossed into Canada from the US in that manner to make subsequent refugee claims. Canada had been processing their claims until the coronavirus pandemic
There have been calls in Canada to suspend or renegotiate the agreement with the US. The ruling can also be appealed.