Biden, Trudeau announce deal to turn back migrant asylum seekers who cross into Canada

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President Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced an agreement to turn back asylum seekers who cross from the U.S. into Canada.

The deal will allow Canada to turn back migrants trekking across unofficial crossing points to seek asylum in Canada. In exchange, Canada will provide a new, legal refugee program for 15,000 migrants from South and Central America.

The new policy, which is an update of the Safe Third Country agreement, will apply to people without U.S. or Canadian citizenship who are caught within 14 days of crossing the border between the two countries.

Mr. Trudeau said the deal will go into effect at midnight Saturday.

“We’ll also continue to work together as partners to keep our people safe. Keeping people safe also includes keeping asylum seekers safe, keeping our borders secure, and keeping our immigration system strong,” Mr. Trudeau said at a joint press conference with Mr. Biden in Ottawa.

Mr. Biden said it will open up new legal pathways for migrants.

The pact is the latest effort by Mr. Biden to discourage asylum seekers from entering the U.S. without authorization. U.S. officials expect the agreement will reduce incentives to cross the border.

In 2004, the countries reached the Safe Third Country Agreement that required migrants who arrive through a port of entry to seek asylum in the country they pass through. However, it did not apply to people who crossed the northern border without permission.

The arrest of migrants at the U.S.-Canadian border has increased over the last several months. More than 2,800 migrants have been arrested at the northern border this fiscal year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Roughly 40,000 migrants had entered Canada from northern New York state, according to a report last month by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. 

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