Two Canadian officials informed CNN that the US and Canada had reached an agreement on revisions to a decades-old asylum pact that would exclude specific individuals from seeking shelter in Canada. This represents a substantial shift in how Canada treats asylum seekers.
Although conversations have been going on for years, there has recently been more urgency because to the rapid increase in US citizens entering Canada from the US, some of whom are thought to have started at the southern US border.
Before US President Joseph Biden wraps up his tour and departs for the US, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Biden are anticipated to make the changes to the deal official.
Prior to Biden’s trip to Canada, Trudeau encountered internal backlash over the large number of migrants that crossed Roxham Road, a lonely road that connects Champlain, New York, and Hemmingford, Quebec.
As suggested by its name, the so-called Safe Third Country Agreement, which was signed in 2002, applies to people who have transited through a nation where they may have requested refuge.
It is in force at entrance points, and anyone arriving at a land port of entry may not be qualified to file a claim and instead be sent back to the US. However, Roxham Road is not a recognized crossing, thus travelers there might still apply for protection in Canada despite having traveled through the US.
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According to experts, the agreement did not initially cover crossings between ports of entry due of restrictions on information sharing, which is what prompted Canada to try to plug the gap now that those restrictions have been loosened.
“There’s a lot of work being done,” hopefully, we’ll be able to make an announcement to reassure Canadians and Americans that we continue to handle migration seriously, Trudeau said to CNN’s Paula Newton on Thursday, an apparent allusion to the arrangement.
The US and Canada have struck a deal on changes to a decades-old asylum agreement that would restrict certain migrants from seeking protections in Canada, marking a significant change in how Canada accepts asylum seekers. https://t.co/tFoylQ58C3
— CNN International (@cnni) March 24, 2023
When Newton questioned Trudeau about whether such an announcement would involve taking some migrants directly from the US, he responded, “Canada is always willing to do more.”
“We’re a country that has been built by the United States and have been welcoming people from around the world. We just need to make sure we are doing it in responsible proper ways to continue to have our citizens positive towards Immigration as Canadians always are.”
According to a Homeland Security official, US officials have begun flying immigrants who enter the nation from Canada to Texas for processing and, if qualified, expulsion to Mexico or their country of origin in accordance with border restrictions from the Covid era.
The US Border Patrol recently saw a historically high number of migrant crossings in the northern region, which prompted the agency to dispatch more officials to the area to provide assistance.
With fewer employees than sectors along the US southern border, the Swanton Sector, which protects around 24,000 square miles of the US-Canada border, has been overrun by the rise in border crossings.
“Swanton Sector Agents are seeing elevated levels of illegal entries from Canada. In just over 5 months, we have apprehended more individuals than the last three (3) Fiscal Years combined,” said Swanton Sector Chief Patrol Agent Robert N. Garcia in a tweet, calling it “unprecedented.”
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