(Quebec) Some 58% of asylum seekers passing through Roxham Road were sent to other provinces in March. “It’s not enough yet,” argues Prime Minister François Legault, who reiterates his request to “close” this irregular crossing point, a few hours before the arrival of US President Joe Biden in Ottawa.
Thursday, François Legault recalled his efforts in recent weeks to make the subject part of the agenda of the meeting between Justin Trudeau and Joe Biden.
“I think it’s important for Quebecers that this subject be addressed and possibly settled,” he said in the morning during a brief scrum before heading to the Blue Room for the period of the issues.
He has been advocating for quite some time “the urgency of amending the Safe Third Country Agreement between Canada and the United States to include ports of entry like Roxham.”
According to this agreement, asylum seekers are required to seek protection in the first country they enter, namely Canada or the United States. However, only official crossing points are subject to this agreement. Those said to be irregular, such as Roxham Road, are not.
Last year, 39,171 asylum seekers were intercepted at Roxham Road. A peak was reached in December with 4,689 interceptions, a 26% increase from the previous month.
It must be recognized that “Quebec has reached and even exceeded its reception capacity,” insisted François Legault.
Quebec has asked to send migrants passing through Roxham Road to other provinces. In March, this was the case for 58% of migrants, noted Mr. Legault. “It’s still not enough. »
“You have to make sure that people entering through Roxham are treated like people entering the airport; that is to say, if they want to apply for refugee status, let it be said that the safe third country where they come from, the United States, must keep them. And we have to return them. »
On Wednesday, when asked about his upcoming meeting with Joe Biden, Justin Trudeau said that “we may have something to announce” on Roxham Road.
“I did not have any information,” reacted François Legault. “I hope Mr. Trudeau really put that at the top of his list. »