us, canada reach deal to stop asylum seekers at unofficial crossings report
In a landmark development, Canada and the US have reached a deal on the Safe Third Country Agreement – signed in 2002 – that would restrict some migrants from seeking protections in Canada, a number of media reports said, quoting informed officials.
US President Joe Biden, who is currently on a visit to Ottawa, and his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau are expected to make a formal joint statement on the move on Friday. The decades-old agreement is meant for migrants who have transited through a country where they could have claimed asylum as it’s deemed safe.
It is in effect at ports of entry and migrants attempting to enter Canada at a land port of entry will likely be ineligible to claim asylum and eventually be returned to the US. But people trying to enter through Roxham Road could still seek protections in Canada albeit they transited through the US because it is not an official crossing.
Canada is expected to create a new refugee programme as part of the deal for 15,000 migrants escaping from violence and persecution in South and Central America, the BBC news agency cited officials as saying to the media. Moreover, besides the deal, Biden is also likely to hold discussions on a series of economic and trade issues with the Canadian prime minister.
Speaking to CNN earlier on Thursday, Trudeau underscored the importance of handling migration seriously to help Canadians maintain their positive view of immigration as they always have.
Meanwhile, a Homeland Security official informed that American authorities have started flying individuals crossing from Canada into the US to Texas for processing and, if eligible, expelling them to their country of origin or Mexico, in accordance with a Covid-era border restriction.
Since the new US-Canada agreement does not require approval from the US Congress, it is likely to take effect quickly.