US and Canada agree to return asylum seekers to northern border
President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have struck a deal to reduce the number of migrants crossing the northern border and allow Canada to close off the Roxham Road crossing.
The US hopes the pact will reduce incentives to cross the border illegally Los Angeles Times reported. As part of the deal, Ottawa will announce 15,000 slots for migrants from the Western Hemisphere to apply to enter Canada legally.
The deal will be announced during Biden’s visit. The president arrives Thursday for a whirlwind trip that includes a bilateral meeting with the prime minister, a speech to the Canadian parliament and a press conference with Trudeau.
The trip is about reassuring America’s closest ally of their importance and emphasizing unity in Ukraine, but there are underlying issues causing tension, including migration on the northern border, Canada’s reduced defense spending and how to help Haiti.
President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will announce a deal to return migrants on the northern border – above asylum seekers on Roxham Road
President Biden’s program for Canada
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden arrive in Ottawa, Canada in the evening.
They will meet Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, and His Excellency Whit Fraser.
They will have a private dinner with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.
President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau have a bilateral meeting.
Biden addresses the Canadian Parliament. Jill Biden is present.
Biden and Trudeau hold a joint press conference.
The Bidens attend a gala dinner hosted by the Trudeaus.
The Bidens leave Ottawa for Wilmington, Delaware.
The number of border crossings on the US-Canada border has increased even as the cold weather has made it dangerous with people suffering from hypothermia and exposure as they make their way through the vast, forested area.
The Swanton sector, which includes parts of Vermont, New Hampshire and New York, saw an 846% increase in detentions from October 2022 through January compared to the previous year.
Canada is also seeing an increase in migrants coming to their side of the border, particularly at Roxham Road station.
More than 39,000 refugees entered Canada last year through unofficial border crossings, the vast majority via Roxham Road, which connects Quebec to New York state.
It is the highest number since 2017, when there was a spike due to then-President Donald Trump’s crackdown on migrants.
“It’s not just a matter of migrants crossing into Canada from the US, so both countries are motivated to move forward,” a senior Canadian government official said in a briefing with reporters on Wednesday.
The problem was a loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement, which requires asylum seekers already in the US to apply there instead of presenting themselves at a Canadian port of entry.
But that policy doesn’t apply to Roxham Road because it’s an unauthorized entry point – literally a road that dead ends in the border and then continues on the other side. That’s where all these migrants cross.
Trudeau said last month the only way to close off Roxham Road is to renegotiate the Safe Third Country Agreement. That announcement comes during Biden’s visit.
Professor Adam Chapnick of Canadian Forces College told DailyMail.com that the northern border is “huge here in Canada.”
The agreement is part of the Biden administration’s efforts to increase the impact on people who cross the border illegally.
Asylum seekers, claiming to be from Turkey, walk Roxham Road to enter Champlain, New York, Canada from the US
A child’s discarded coat is seen near the border leading into Canada from the US
President Joe Biden will travel to Canada on Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
It’s also about Canada’s defense budget – and whether the United States’ neighbor to the north contributes enough to both NORAD and NATO.
NORAD was a product of the Cold War, with the huge amount of money funding the defensive project – designed to track down Soviet bombers – coming from the United States.
But slowly it turned into a bi-national operation. NORAD’s commander can be from the United States or Canadian Forces, and he or she reports to both the Prime Minister and the President.
Most Americans know about NORAD through their annual “Santa Tracker,” but the recent Chinese spy balloon incursion has brought the Cold War agency back into the spotlight.
Last year, Trudeau’s government pledged $4.9 billion (that’s $3.6 billion) over the next six years to modernize the defense system.
The two leaders will likely discuss whether that’s enough. But a senior Canadian official said the conversation is “between friends and partners and allies.” There’s no anger or upset or sense of crisis.”
“The issue of China’s spy balloon was a good reminder to all of us that we must continue to ensure that when it comes to our defensive capabilities, especially our air defense capabilities, we are always at the forefront,” the spokesman for the National Security Council said. John Kirby, Wednesday.
“So modernizing air defense capabilities and certainly in NORAD in particular, is something that we never take for granted or we are always looking to improve on that. Much of this is reflected in the Defense budget.’
US presidents have long pushed Canada to spend more on its military, including Barack Obama in 2016 and Donald Trump in 2019, especially when it comes to NATO spending.
Among all NATO countries, Canada ranks sixth from the bottom in terms of national defense commitments. NATO members should spend 2% of their national gross domestic product on defense. Canada spends about 1.5%.
A U.S. Air Force U-2 pilot looks down at suspected Chinese surveillance balloon before it was shot down
A person carries a child past Haitian National Police trying to fend off gangs in Port-au-Prince
Haiti also remains a major issue between Canada and the United States.
The Biden administration wants Canada to send a multinational force to Haiti to help it fight gang control.
In October, the United States proposed a resolution to the United Nations Security Council for the deployment of a rapid, multinational force to Haiti to help the national police break the stranglehold of armed gangs.
Since the beginning of the year, 531 people have been killed, 300 injured and 277 kidnapped by gang-related violence in Haiti.
The US had hoped that Canada would act, but Trudeau does not seem enthusiastic.
“The United States wants to talk about Haiti more than Canada does,” Canadian Forces College professor Adam Chapnick told DailyMail.com.
Trade issues are also expected to be discussed.
The dairy market is a problem because the US believes Canada is still not meeting its obligations to open its market to US producers.
Canada, meanwhile, is concerned about US subsidies for US production of electric vehicles and semiconductors. Ottawa is expected to respond with its own clean energy and manufacturing incentives.
At the same time, the US looks to Canada to supply the critical minerals and rare earth elements needed to make batteries for electric vehicles, while the Biden administration seeks to reduce dependence on adversaries such as China for crucial raw materials.
Meanwhile, Canada has a robust market for essential minerals that the US needs to make batteries for electric vehicles. Washington would like to have access to it, especially as Biden tries to reduce China’s reliance on such materials.
U.S. presidents traditionally make their first international trip to Canada, but delays — caused in part by COVID — have seen Biden visit nearly 20 other countries.
He held his first bilateral meeting as president with Trudeau, but it was virtual.
The two men met in person at the North American Leaders’ Summit in Mexico City in January.