Slamming the Golden Door: Canada-U.S. Migration Policy and Refugee Resettlement

  • Robert Falconer University of Calgary


In the past few weeks, the United States has either announced or considered noteworthy changes to refugee and asylum policies. On July 15, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced that migrants who pass through another country before arriving at or within the United States will be barred from claiming asylum there, with few exceptions. On July 18, 2019 Politico reported that the Trump Administration was preparing to slash refugee admissions for the 2020 fiscal year (Hesson 2019), a report that was partially realized in a September 26th decision by the White House to reduce the ceiling on refugee resettlement from 30,000 in 2019 to 18,000 for the coming year (White House 2019). This continues the trend of previous reductions in 2017 and 2018, the latter of which resulted in Canada surpassing the United States to resettle more refugees than any other country in the world. Both of these policy changes may have significant implications for Canada. This communiqué will focus on U.S. retreat from refugee resettlement, while a second communiqué focuses on the U.S. asylum bar.