“No simplistic solution” regarding Roxham Road, says Trudeau

“No simplistic solution” regarding Roxham Road, says Trudeau

« No simplistic solution» on Roxham Road, says Trudeau

Chris Young The Canadian Press “What we need is to renegotiate [the Safe Third Country Agreement] to ensure that any possibility of crossing irregularly is completely closed. […] And we are making progress,” said Justin Trudeau on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau argues that the question is not whether Roxham Road should be closed, but how.

“To close Roxham Road is is what we all want, but there is no simplistic solution,” he said during a press briefing in the Greater Toronto Area on Wednesday.

He added that the path to follow is the one already undertaken, namely the renegotiation of the Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the United States.

“What we need is is to renegotiate [the agreement] to ensure that we completely close off any possibility of crossing irregularly. […] We have been talking about this for many months, years, and we are making progress,” he said.

As he had stated before, he argued that sticking to “putting up barricades” at Roxham Road would be tantamount to “taking people to cross somewhere else”, all along the Canada-US border.

The ETPS ensures that a potential refugee arriving at an official Canadian border crossing and having first set foot on American soil is turned away since he must pursue his asylum claim in the first “place sure” where it happened.

Thus, people still wishing to seek asylum in Canada cross the Canada-US border by makeshift crossings, and this, in many cases by Roxham Road, located in Montérégie. Once they are in Canada and have been intercepted by Canadian authorities after officially setting foot in Canada, their asylum claim can be processed.

In 2022, a record number of 39,171 people thus crossed the border irregularly, according to the number of interceptions reported by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Quebec insistence


François Legault has been hammering for months that Quebec can no longer stem this influx and is asking for the closure of Roxham Road, which is located in the province. On Sunday, he wrote to Mr. Trudeau to demand that all people crossing this makeshift passage be redirected to other provinces.

On Tuesday, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre added his voice to that of Mr. Legault, also calling for the closure of Roxham Road. He added a 30-day timeline to his request. He said he believes there is “no need” to review the ETPS or even suspend it to “close” Roxham Road.

“We are a country. We try to complicate things too much. A country has borders. The prime minister is responsible for borders. This is an exclusively federal responsibility. There is no other country [nor] international body that controls our borders,” he argued.

Mr. Trudeau does not have the same vision of things. On Wednesday, he said that until the renegotiation with the Americans is concluded, Canada will have to respect its obligations.

“Until then, we must continue to be faithful to our values ​​and international agreements to be welcoming to migrants,” he said.

Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated that Quebec has been “generous” in welcoming migrants. He also pointed out that Ottawa had provided support to the province and promised, in the same breath, that more would be done in this regard.