US, Canada reach deal to restrict migrant border crossings

US, Canada reach deal to restrict migrant border crossings

Agreement seeks to clamp down on number of asylum seekers entering Canada following uptick in crossings

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US and Canada struck a deal to restrict the number of migrants who can cross their shared border to claim asylum, the countries announced Friday.

The matter has stoked tensions between Ottawa and Washington, and US President Joe Biden said while addressing Canadian lawmakers that the countries are "working together to address the record levels of migration in the hemisphere."

"In the United States, we're expanding legal pathways for migration to seek safety and humanitarian on a humanitarian basis while discouraging unlawful migration that feeds exploitation and human trafficking," he said.

"I applaud Canada for stepping up with similar programs opening new legal pathways for 1,500 migrants to come to Canada from countries in the Western Hemisphere. At the same time, the United States and Canada will work together to discourage unlawful border crossings and fully implement and the updated Safe Third Country Agreement," he added.

The White House later said the number of migrants Canada would allow will be 15,000, not 1,500.

Nearly 10,000 migrants seeking asylum were detained in Canada within the first two months of 2023, according to Canadian government statistics.

The agreement closes a loophole in Canada's and the US' migration policies, allowing the countries to turn away migrants who enter via unofficial border crossings.

A joint statement distributed by the White House said the nations "are poised" to implement the agreement "which we anticipate will deter irregular migration at our shared border."

"We will remain in close coordination as we work to implement this new agreement," it said.

The 52-page rule published by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and in the federal register said migrants from third-party nations arriving in Canada from the US "or in transit through the United States during removal by Canada, are generally barred from pursuing their asylum or other protection claim."

Migrants who are apprehended in Canada within 14 days of crossing the border can be sent back to the US and vice versa.​​​​​​​

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