The U.S. and Canada have reportedly agreed on a deal that would allow each country to turn back asylum seekers who cross the northern border without authorization.
The deal, reported by The Los Angeles Times, was expected to be announced later Thursday upon President Joe Biden's arrival in Ottawa for his first official visit to Canada. He is expected to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday night and address Canada's Parliament on Friday.
The Times, citing a source granted anonymity in order to discuss the agreement, reported the U.S. hopes the pact will "reduce incentives" to cross the border irregularly. The negotiations, which have been ongoing for several years, were motivated by recent increases in the number of unauthorized border crossings in both directions, the source said.
As part of the agreement, Canada is expected to announce 15,000 slots for migrants from the Western Hemisphere to apply to enter the country legally, the source said.
According to a White House statement, Biden's trip is meant "to reaffirm the United States' commitment to the U.S.-Canada partnership and promote our shared security, shared prosperity, and shared values."
The new deal is an update to the Safe Third Country Agreement reached in 2004, which allows U.S. and Canadian officials to turn back asylum seekers in both directions at formal ports of entry. The agreement did not apply to unofficial crossings, such as the Roxham Road irregular crossing between New York state and Quebec, which the two nations agreed to shut down Thursday.
The Times reported U.S. arrests of migrants at the northern border, which are not as frequent as those on the southern border with Mexico, have increased in the last several months, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security. Since the 2023 fiscal year began in October, there have been 2,856 arrests of migrants at the northern border, a figure already higher than in all of the previous fiscal year.
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