A revised US-Canada border agreement targeting the reduction of unauthorized border crossings will be implemented starting midnight on Saturday. Migrants apprehended after this deadline will be directed to official border crossings for processing, as announced by both countries on Friday.
The US-Canada border has seen a significant increase in migrants making unsanctioned crossings through Roxham Road. This amendment aims to address the loophole in the existing agreement between the two countries concerning asylum claims and unauthorized border crossings.
The revision is intended to curb the influx of migrants at Roxham Road, an unregulated crossing between New York and Quebec. In the previous year, a record 40,000 migrants crossed into Canada, with the majority entering through Roxham Road.
In addition to the revised agreement, Canada will establish a new refugee program for 15,000 migrants escaping persecution and violence in South and Central America, as stated by the prime minister’s office (PMO).
The original 2004 Safe Third Country Act (STCA) mandates that migrants must file an asylum claim in the first “safe” country they arrive in, be it the US or Canada. The STCA allowed both countries to refuse migrants at official entry points, but not at unofficial crossings like Roxham Road. The updated agreement now covers the entire border, including internal waterways, as confirmed by the prime minister’s office in a statement.
The US has also experienced a surge in migrants crossing its northern border into Canada. The Biden administration has proposed stricter measures for asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border, which has faced criticism from human rights groups.
During President Joe Biden’s 24-hour visit to Ottawa, he and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discussed various economic, trade, and immigration issues. Their conversations also covered the importance of strong economic and defense ties between the two countries, as well as their mutual support for Ukraine.