With a new asylum regulation, the USA and Canada want to take stricter action against illegal migration at the common border. US President Joe Biden and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the new agreement at a meeting in Ottawa yesterday (local time).

On his first visit to the neighboring country since taking office in January 2021, Biden gave a speech to the Canadian parliament and, together with Trudeau, evoked the close partnership between the two NATO allies.

people from Central and South America

In view of the sharp increase in illegal border crossings, the Canadian government had long been pushing for an agreement in Washington to be able to turn away more migrants. According to media reports, almost 40,000 people came to Canada last year, far more than before. These are mainly people from Central and South America who are moving on to Canada from the USA. In particular, the closed Roxham Road border crossing north of New York has recently become a symbol of illegal border crossings.

The new rule aims to close loopholes and states that all migrants, no matter where they illegally cross the border between the two countries, can be returned to the United States under certain conditions. In return, Canada agrees to accept 15,000 additional migrants within a year. The USA and Canada are thus expanding an existing agreement from the 2000s.

“We couldn’t just shut down Roxham Road and hope it would all sort itself out,” said Trudeau. The almost 9,000 km border between the two countries is simply too long for that. Anyone trying to cross the border between official crossings must now also apply for asylum in the first safe country they enter. Anyone entering Canada from the United States must first apply for asylum in the United States. “Police and border officials will enforce the agreement,” Trudeau announced.

sometimes hostile relationship

Relations between neighboring countries had cooled significantly under Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, and in some cases were even openly hostile. Now the two countries have also announced stronger cooperation in the production of semiconductors and in climate protection. With much pathos, the unshakable friendship in serious times of pandemic and war was emphasized in Ottawa.

At the beginning of his speech to Parliament, MPs rose for Biden, who in turn greeted his bilingual hosts with “Bonjour Canada” and continued: “Today I say to you and all the people of Canada, always, always look to the United States of America can count.” There is no “more reliable ally” and no “steadier friend” than Canada. “Americans love Canadians, and that’s no exaggeration.”