The U.S. and Canada have reached a deal to try to stop what’s become an increasingly chaotic border between the two nations, according to news reports from both countries.
The deal was struck just before President Biden arrived in Canada for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Both countries will do more to keep people from jumping across the boundary and claiming asylum in the other country. And Canada will take an additional 15,000 asylum-seekers from across the hemisphere.
Immigrant-rights advocates were furious at the terms of the deal, saying it’s the latest retreat by Mr. Biden on his campaign promises of a more-welcoming immigration system.
“Asylum seekers flee violent conditions to build better futures for themselves and their families — they undergo extreme journeys across thousands of miles in search of safety and relief,” said Murad Awawdeh, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition. “To now restrict the movement of asylum seekers is to recklessly endanger their lives.”
He called Canada’s 15,000 asylum target “a slap in the face” and said Mr. Biden seems to be trying to “take pages out of the xenophobic Republican playbook for political gain.”
The U.S. and Canada have long had an asylum deal limiting illegal immigrants’ claims. But the countries say migrants have found loopholes.
In Canada, for example, migrants who cross through legal ports of entry and ask for asylum can be returned to the U.S. But those who sneak across are allowed to lodge claims.
One crossing into Quebec has gotten so bad that Canada, taking a page from Republican-led U.S. states, began busing the migrants to other locations to try to spread the pain of welcoming the newcomers.
Meanwhile migrants have been pouring from Canada into Vermont, New Hampshire and northern New York.
That comes on top of a southern border that has been out of control for most of Mr. Biden’s tenure, shattering records for illegal flows of people and drugs.
The Border Patrol’s chief testified to Congress earlier this month that about half of the southern border is not secure, and neither is the northern border sector that’s seeing all the action.
Mexican and Central American migrants who in years past would have suck across the southern border are now making their way into Canada and entering the U.S. from the north.
Smugglers from along America’s eastern seaboard — often illegal immigrants themselves — are driving to meet them and ferry them to locations across the eastern part of the U.S.
• Stephen Dinan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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