(OTTAWA) After years of negotiations, Ottawa and Washington agree to close the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement that allowed migrants to enter Canada irregularly, such as at Roxham Road.
Under the agreement, Canada will announce that it is opening its doors to 15,000 asylum seekers over the next year, a Canadian government source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed to La Presse. authorized to discuss the issue publicly.
The Safe Third Country Agreement will therefore now be applied all along the border between Canada and the United States, including at unofficial checkpoints such as Roxham Road, which nearly 40,000 migrants used in 2022. .
On both sides, these adjustments are expected to curb irregular migration.
The policy will apply to asylum seekers who are not Canadian or American citizens and who are intercepted within 14 days of crossing the border, according to our information, which confirms those reported earlier by the Los Angeles Times.
The details of the agreement remain to be finalized. The Trudeau government will tie the last strings as part of the visit to Canada by United States President Joe Biden and his delegation, who are in the country Thursday and Friday.
The conclusion of a pact between Ottawa and Washington was first reported by Radio-Canada on Thursday.
Federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos did not deny the news when he arrived in parliament.
The wish of Quebec Premier François Legault is therefore likely to be granted, he who has been crying out for the immediate closure of Roxham Road, especially in recent months.
“I think it’s important for Quebecers that this subject be addressed and possibly resolved,” he said Thursday morning during a brief scrum before heading to the Blue Room for the season. issues.
The Bloc Québécois also sent a letter to the United States Ambassador to Canada, David Cohen, calling for the closure of Roxham Road and the suspension of this agreement.
“If the objective is achieved, which is to close Roxham and allow asylum seekers to apply on a regular basis across Canada, thus relieving the reception capacity of Quebec, at this time That will be a victory,” commented party immigration spokesperson Alexis Brunelle-Duceppe.
“Now is that it?” We do not know. You have to be careful. The devil is in the details. »
In particular, he wonders what will happen to the $500 million investment the federal government has made in Roxham Road.
The immediate suspension of the pact is also the outcome advocated by the New Democratic Party (NDP), and it continues to be, said Jagmeet Singh.
But “if there’s another way to sort out what’s going on, we’re open, because we have to sort this out,” he said in a scrum in the House of Commons foyer, THURSDAY.
The Conservatives preferred to wait for more details before reacting.
Canada and the United States have been trying to renegotiate the agreement for several years.
Under this agreement signed in 2002, a person who wants to obtain refugee status must submit his asylum application in the first of the two countries where he sets foot.
As it only applies to border crossings, airports and arrivals by train, many asylum seekers use the irregular crossing of Roxham Road to bypass it.