The U.S. and Canada have reportedly reached a deal that would allow both countries to turn away asylum seekers who cross the border illegally.
President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are set to make the announcement Friday amid Biden’s first visit as President to Canada. The two will hold a bilateral meeting in Ottawa Friday followed by a joint press conference.
The border agreement would allow Canada to turn away migrants at unofficial crossing points. Trudeau had been pressed by Quebec Premier François Legault to raise the issue with Biden, as some 40,000 asylum seekers entered Canada through one unofficial crossing point in Quebec last year.
In exchange, Canada will announce plans to welcome and additional 15,000 migrants from Central America of the next year through legal pathways.
A U.S. official familiar with the reported agreement cited last year’s “Los Angeles Declaration,” which was signed by Biden, Trudeau and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador at the Summit of the Americas in Mexico. The agreement was ultimately signed by 21 Western Hemispheric governments, vowing to create conditions for safe, orderly, humane, and regular migration and strengthen frameworks for international protection and cooperation.
“We’re seeing an increase in irregular migration going north into Canada, which reflects the regional and global migration challenges we have been talking about,’’ White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Air Force One on Thursday—though she did not confirm reports of an agreement. “We’re committed to working with them to address it, including by prioritizing orderly and safe migration through regular pathways.”
Biden’s first visit to the United States’ neighbor to the north is set to last just some 24 hours. He arrived Thursday evening and is due to depart Friday around 9pm Eastern Time.
Even so, during that brief visit, the Biden and Trudeau reportedly planned to discuss numerous pressing issues, including migration, the war in Ukraine, the humanitarian crisis in Haiti and climate change.