Anyone who tries to cross the border illegally between the two countries can always be turned away unlike before.
US President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday both countries a Agreement Migrants can be turned back anywhere on the border between the two countries. The announcement came during Biden’s visit to Canada’s capital, Ottawa, where he discussed a range of issues with Trudeau: allowing the closing of a loophole that has allowed immigrants who have tried to enter Canada illegally to seek asylum at certain points along the border. It is more than 5,000 kilometers long.
Many immigrants trying to enter Canada illegally pass through the Wroxham Road, a rural road that connects New York state with southern Montreal, Quebec in eastern Canada. The previous agreement between the two countries, the Safe Third Country Act (STCA), was signed in 2004 and provided that migrants should seek asylum in the first “safe” country they reached: specifically, it allowed both Canada and the United States to enter the country. States can turn back migrants at official border entry points, but not at unofficial entry points such as Wroxham Road where asylum can be sought.
The new agreement replaces the previous agreement and gives them the right to be deported if they try to enter Canada illegally anywhere at the border. A contacted Trudeau’s office clarified that the right extends to any part of the border, including rivers and lakes. Under the deal, which took effect at 12:10 p.m. between Friday and Saturday, Canada will set up a new program for about 15,000 asylum seekers from Central and South American countries fleeing violence and persecution.
In recent times, the issue of immigration has once again become a timely and highly controversial issue for the United States and Canada. In 2022, about 40,000 immigrants entered Canada illegally from the United States, most of them via the Wroxham Road. In February alone, U.S. Border Patrol agents turned away 628 people trying to enter Canada illegally, five times more than during the same period last year.
The new agreement has been criticized by various civil rights groups, who say it could prevent immigrants from receiving aid from both countries and would generally not help Canada curb irregular immigration. Last month, a new immigration law proposal put forward by the Biden administration also drew criticism, seen by various observers as too similar to measures adopted by Donald Trump at the time, which were widely contested as being repressive and affronting human rights.
Specifically, the Biden administration’s proposal would bar entry to the United States for asylum seekers who have not first been accepted by at least one of the transit countries. In short, for anyone who is not Mexican (Mexico directly borders the United States), legal access to the country by land would be extremely difficult, if not impossible.
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