Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2007

Capstone Advisor

Alison Mountz

Honors Reader

Jennifer Hyndman

Capstone Major

International Relations

Capstone College

Citizenship and Public Affairs

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

International and Area Studies | Other International and Area Studies


The U.S./Canadian border is in the process of being renegotiated as a result of larger processes of redefining and reimagining sovereign territories inNorth America. New understandings ofU.S.and Canadian state sovereignty are creating a conflated “other” of cross-border flows: an illegitimate migrant figure who is securitized, criminalized and disembodied. The contemporary “othering” of the migrant has serious human rights implications such as the restriction of access to refugee protection. U.S.and Canadian states share an agenda of migration control executed through the manipulation of geography and the figure of the migrant.

On paper, the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) aims to enhance refugee protection and increase border security. In practice, STCA makes the U.S./Canadian border a battleground for obtaining access to asylum, thus eroding refugee protection inNorth Americaand threatening the security of asylum seekers, theU.S.and Canadian states.

In order to evaluate STCA, I conducted field interviews during 2006 and 2007 with persons working in theU.S.and Canadian governments as well as outside the governments in both countries on STCA. Through my analysis of these discussions, official policy documents and relevant literature, I offer three different readings of STCA. This provides a context for STCA and uncovers the motivations for the signing of the policy.

The U.S./Canadian STCA functions as an exclusionary measure in a broader field of exclusions: reconfigurations of the border, state sovereignty, territorial limits of the state and the figure of the migrant which aim to reduce the access to and the quality of asylum.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.