Biden, Trudeau Set to Announce Immigration Deal

Biden is visiting Canada for first time as president
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2023 7:10 AM CDT
Biden, Trudeau Set to Announce Immigration Deal
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden arrive to visit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau at Rideau Cottage, Thursday, March 23, 2023, in Ottawa, Canada.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

President Biden arrived in Ottawa on Thursday night and he is set to announce a deal with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Friday to resolve an immigration loophole Canada has been seeking action on for years. The agreement will allow each country to turn back asylum seekers that arrive at unofficial border crossings, including a site where tens of thousands have crossed from New York to Quebec in recent years, the Washington Post reports. In return, Canada has agreed to ease pressure at the US-Mexico border by accepting 15,000 more migrants annually from places including Central America and Haiti, sources tell the Globe and Mail. More:

  • Deal updates Safe Third Country pact. The agreement will update the Safe Third Country Agreement, which Canada signed in 2002, to cover the entire border instead of just official land crossings, the New York Times reports. The pact requires asylum seekers in the US and Canada to make their claim in the first of the two countries they arrive in. Canadian authorities said a surge in arrivals from the US had been straining social services, and the US was interested in revisiting the agreement because a growing number of asylum seekers have been going in the other direction, crossing into the US from Canada at unofficial points.

  • A whirlwind trip. The CBC report that this is the first overnight trip to Canada by a US president in almost 20 years and it will be a busy 24 hours for Biden: His schedule includes an address to Parliament and a gala dinner at Ottawa's Aviation Museum as well as a meeting with Trudeau. The president will fly to Delaware Friday night.
  • Leaders will discuss "challenges of our time." Biden and Trudeau are also expected to address issues including trade, the war in Ukraine, countering China's influence, and the NORAD radar system, the AP reports. "This visit is about taking stock of what we’ve done, where we are and what we need to prioritize for the future,” said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby. “We’re going to talk about our two democracies stepping up to meet the challenges of our time." The US has also been urging Canada to take a "leadership role" in dealing with the crisis in Haiti.
  • Biden's Canadian connections. This is Biden's first trip to Canada as president. Like former President Trump before him, he is making the trip relatively late in his presidency, though Trudeau invited Biden to a state dinner during his final weeks as vice president in late 2016. During that visit, he gave a toast saying his first wife's family was Canadian and his sons wanted to be Mounties when they were kids, the Post reports.
(More Canada stories.)

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