Trudeau Announces Change in US-Canada Asylum Arrangements

Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau

Justin Trudeau has announced a significant change in how Canada and the United States handle asylum claims, effectively closing a contentious border crossing, following a meeting with US President Joe Biden.

Canada will admit an additional 15,000 migrants from South and Central America as part of the agreement, which Canadian officials hope will reduce the increase in border crossings in recent months. The office of the prime minister stated in a statement that the agreement would guarantee “fairer” migration between the two countries.

The breakthrough regarding irregular migration was one of several new policies and financing initiatives announced by the two nations on Friday.

Prior to 2004, asylum claims could be made at any lawful port of entry in Canada, where they would be processed and claimants would be admitted if their claim was granted.

This changed when Ottawa effectively lobbied for the passage of the Safe Third Country Agreement, an agreement that required migrants to file asylum claims in the country in which they first arrived. The current agreement applies to land-based entry points, but not irregular or unauthorized crossings.

A rise in the number of individuals attempting irregular winter crossings, which has resulted in a series of fatalities, has prompted calls for an overhaul.