Canada's Conservative Party pledged today to renegotiate the terms of a deal with the United States to limit migrants who cross from the U.S. into Canada, but it offered few details on how it would do so. Under the current terms of a 2002 agreement, Canada and the U.S. can send back migrants who attempt to enter one country from the other. But the agreement applies only at regular border checkpoints.
Although Canada has a relatively open immigration policy, the issue has become politically fraught in recent years as thousands of people have entered Canada seeking asylum without going through the checkpoints on roads, airports or other standard entry points.
Canadian Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer made the announcement at a campaign stop along the border, at a Quebec site that's seen a spike in irregular crossing from the U.S. Scheer promised to “end the wave of illegal entries" by closing a "loophole" in the 2002 pact with the U.S., known as a Safe Third Country Agreement. The current Liberal government is already trying to negotiate changes with the U.S. but has not yet succeeded.
One reporter asked how he planned to persuade President Donald Trump to take back asylum seekers. He replied that renegotiating the deal was his "preferred course of action." Should that fail, Scheer said he would explore other options. One option, he said, was simply applying the Safe Third Country Agreement everywhere along the border. “There are other options, other tools, available to the government that we’ll also be exploring," Scheer said, without going into specifics.
Scheer said flaws in the system must be addressed to maintain public support for immigration. He also promised to hire 250 new border agents and deploy immigration judges to the border to process asylum claims faster.
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Updated: Thu, Oct 10th 2019 @ 9:48am EDT