Joe Biden and Justin Trudeau reach deal to stop asylum seekers at unofficial crossings
The US and Canada reached a deal aimed at stopping asylum seekers entering the shared land border via unofficial crossings, it has been reported.
US President Joe Biden landed in Ottawa on Thursday ahead of talks with Justin Trudeau, Canada's prime minister, at which immigration is expected to feature heavily.
The revised Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) will be discussed on Friday at the meeting between Mr Biden and Mr Trudeau and the two parties are set to iron out details before an official announcement comes later in the day, a Canadian government source told Reuters.
Mr Trudeau has been under pressure to stop the passage of asylum seekers in Quebec, the mainly French-speaking province where he holds his parliamentary seat.
Mr Biden arrived in Canada on Thursday on his long-delayed visit to express unity on Ukraine, and will address the nation's parliament on Friday alongside Mr Trudeau.
Border crossings between the two countries are governed by STCA, which allows US and Canadian officials to turn back asylum seekers in both directions at formal ports of entry, but does not apply to unofficial crossings, such as Quebec's Roxham Road.
Roxham Road, a dirt path that has become a route of choice for asylum-seekers, made international headlines in 2017 soon after former president Donald Trump started to crack down on illegal migrants, resulting in a huge inflow of asylum seekers into Canada.
The US and Canada share the longest land border in North America and the new agreement would expand the pact so that it applies to the entire border and asylum seekers apprehended using unofficial crossings will be turned back.
As part of the deal, Ottawa has agreed to resettle an as-yet undisclosed number of refugees, but the source cautioned that these details that had yet to be agreed.
Canada has been pushing the US to extend the deal for a while. In recent months, there has been a sharp increase in asylum seekers entering Canada through unofficial border crossings.
The US Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.
Mr Trudeau's office did not respond to a request for comment about the deal on the border crossing.
Speaking with reporters on Wednesday, Mr Trudeau said the US and Canadian governments had been working to resolve the "complex" issue of irregular border crossings for many months and that he hoped to make an announcement about it soon.