U.S, Canada reach deal on asylum seekers

The United States and Canada have reached a deal aimed at stopping asylum seekers from entering the shared land border via unofficial crossings.

As part of the agreement, Canada will take in an additional 15,000 migrants over the next year on a humanitarian basis in the Western Hemisphere, a U.S. official said.

Border crossings between the two countries are governed by the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) which allows U.S. and Canadian officials to turn back asylum seekers in both directions at formal ports of entry, but does not apply to unofficial crossings like Quebec’s Roxham Road.

Canada has been pushing the United States to extend the deal for a while. In recent months, there has been a sharp increase in asylum seekers entering Canada through unofficial border crossings.

U.S. and Canada share the longest land border in North America and the new agreement would expand the pact so that it applies to the entire length and asylum seekers apprehended using unofficial crossings will be turned back.

The revised STCA will be discussed on Friday at an official face-to-face between U.S. President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa.

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Trudeau has been under pressure to stop the flow of asylum seekers in Quebec, the mainly French-speaking province where he holds his parliamentary seat.

Biden arrived in Canada on Thursday on his long-delayed visit to express unity on Ukraine, and will address Parliament on Friday with Trudeau.

Roxham Road, a dirt path that has become a route of choice for asylum-seekers, made international headlines in 2017 soon after former U.S. President Donald Trump started to crack down on illegal migrants, resulting in a huge inflow of asylum seekers into Canada.

Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Trudeau said the U.S. and Canadian governments had been working to resolve the “complex” issue of irregular border crossings for many months and that he hoped to make an announcement about it soon.


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