Quebec premier says Roxham Road must be 'priority' for Trudeau at meeting with Biden

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make the flow of migrants across the Roxham Road border crossing a priority during an upcoming meeting with the U.S. president.

Legault says in a letter to Trudeau dated Sunday that the federal government urgently needs to complete the renegotiation of an agreement with the United States that has pushed asylum seekers to enter Canada at irregular border crossings.

Legault says Quebec's capacity to welcome people entering through the unofficial crossing in southern Quebec has been overwhelmed, and that the tens of thousands of unexpected arrivals have made it harder to stop the decline of the French language in Montreal.

Federal statistics show that more than 39,000 people claimed asylum after they were intercepted by the RCMP crossing Canada's land border into Quebec in 2022, compared with 369 in the rest of the country.

The premier welcomes the federal government's decision to transfer migrants crossing into Quebec to Ontario but says in the letter Ottawa will have to do more to redirect migrants to other provinces.

Trudeau is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in March.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2023.

The Canadian Press