Trudeau says best way to close Roxham Road is to renegotiate refugee deal with U.S.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says there are no simple solutions to shutting down a rural road in southern Quebec used by thousands of asylum seekers to cross irregularly into Canada.
His comments come a day after Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre said the prime minister should shut down the rural crossing — known as Roxham Road — within 30 days.
Trudeau says closing that road would only encourage asylum seekers to use another forested path along the thousands of kilometres of border between Canada and the United States.
The prime minister says the federal government also wants to close down that irregular crossing, but he says the best way to do that is to renegotiate the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement.
That agreement prohibits asylum seekers from making claims at official border crossings, but the deal doesn't apply to people who illegally cross into Canada outside of a border station, such as through Roxham Road.
Trudeau says Ottawa is making progress with the U.S. on negotiations over the Safe Third Country Agreement.
The federal government has reported that more than 39,000 people claimed asylum in Quebec in 2022 after crossing into Canada outside official ports of entry, mostly through Roxham Road.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2023.
The Canadian Press