Legault pitches English Canada for closure of Roxham Road and transfer of migrants

MONTREAL — Quebec's premier is making a pitch to English Canada for the closure of an irregular border crossing used by asylum seekers and for would-be refugees to be transferred outside his province.

The Globe and Mail today published an English-language letter by François Legault in which he says the sooner the federal government closes Roxham Road, the better.

The message is similar to one Legault wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday, but the Globe's letter plays down concerns about the French language and the costs of caring for asylum seekers.

Legault's letter to English Canada instead focuses on how the surge of asylum seekers into Quebec — largely through Roxham Road — has pushed the province's social services to their limits and prevents Quebec from receiving refugees "in dignity."

The premier says Quebec has taken a "completely disproportionate share" of asylum seekers, adding that more than 39,000 people claimed asylum in Quebec in 2022 after crossing into Canada outside official ports of entry.

The office of federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said Monday that Ottawa had recently transferred thousands of migrants to Ontario to take pressure off Quebec.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press