Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his officials faced questioning in parliament Tuesday after requesting legal authority to turn back thousands of asylum-seekers.
According to Reuters, who cited a government official, Canada is looking to amend the Safe Third Country Agreement, which forces refugees attempting to cross the U.S.-Canada border to turn around and apply for asylum in the first country they arrived in.
The country is looking to extend the agreement along the entire border of Canada — the world’s longest undefended border — rather than only formal border crossings.
Within the last 15 months, more than 26,000 asylum-seekers have entered into the country illegally from the U.S.
Many of those seeking asylum told Reuters that they would have remained in the U.S. had it not been for the fact that they feared President Donald Trump’s strict immigration policies.
A large portion of those immigrants, according to The Daily Caller, were also Nigerian tourists with legal visitor visas “who then snuck across the border into Canada in order to avoid being sent home.”
Though an unnamed Canadian official said the U.S. has not responded to Canada’s motion for change, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has stated it is in the process of reviewing Canada’s proposal.
During the parliamentary questioning, Trudeau said his government had spoken to American officials “for months” on “many issues relating to our border.”
The prime minister added that thus far, negotiations with the U.S. have been “unfruitful.”
However, Immigration and Refugee Minister Ahmed Hussen neglected to reveal what it is specifically that Canada is asking of the U.S., adding that there are currently no “formal negotiations” regarding the issue.
Some, like the New Democratic Party’s Jenny Kwan, have slammed the liberal officials’ change of stance concerning refugees, indicating that turning back asylum-seekers is “unfeasible” and will only drive the migration process underground.
“The Liberal government has failed to come up with a plan in the face of (U.S. President Donald) Trump,” Kwan said.
Trudeau, who tweeted just last year that refugees were welcome, now faces “a delicate balance” in trying to create stricter border security while also maintaining his “image of compassion,” suggested Ipsos pollster Darrell Bricker.
“Bricker said the more that migration was in the news, the more Canadians disapproved of the government’s handling of the file,” Reuters reported.
The Canadian government has also received complaints from the province of Quebec, where many of the refugees have arrived.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.