Biden meets with Trudeau as US, Canada announce immigration agreement
Written by ABC Audio All Rights Reserved on March 24, 2023
(WASHINGTON) — President Joe Biden and Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a new migration deal as part of Biden’s first visit to America’s northern neighbor.
The new agreement will allow Canada to send migrants who cross at unofficial ports of entry at America’s northern border back to the U.S., a change to the Safe Third Country Agreement long-sought by Canada.
The U.S. will also be able to turn back asylum seekers who travel across the border from Canada.
In return, Canada has agreed to allow 15,000 more people from the Western Hemisphere to migrate to Canada legally.
Biden officially announced the new policy agreement as he delivered remarks to the Canadian Parliament, saying he applauded Canada for “stepping up with similar programs opening new legal pathways” to migrants.
“At the same time, the United States and Canada will work together to discourage unlawful border crossing and fully implement the updated Safe Third Country Agreement,” Biden said.
During a joint news conference with Biden, the Canadian prime minister emphasized working with the U.S. to “keep our people safe.”
“Keeping people safe also includes keeping asylum seekers safe, keeping our borders secure and keeping our immigration strong,” Trudeau said. “Both of our countries believe in safe, fair and orderly migration, refugee protection and border security.”
Trudeau said authorities will enforce the agreement beginning at midnight Friday.
The Bidens arrived in Canada on Thursday, and were welcomed by Trudeau and his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau at their residence in Ottawa.
The U.S.-Canada relationship was strained during the previous administration as Trudeau and former President Donald Trump clashed on a number of issues, including trade and immigration. But the alliance has since mended under Biden.
Trudeau touched on the “challenging times” the two nations faced, noting the last time Biden appeared in the room for a joint press conference he was the outgoing vice president.
“I have to say through our conversations back then, through the work we have been able to do over these past two years, it has truly been an honor to be able to work with you for the benefit of Canadians and Americans, but also to continue to have a positive impact on the world in a very uncertain time,” Trudeau said.
Biden, too, praised the U.S.-Canada alliance, saying the two countries will “always will have each other’s backs.”
Biden began the day on Parliament Hill for an official welcome and meetings with Trudeau, Canada’s Opposition Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre and others.
In the evening, Biden and first lady Jill Biden will attend a gala dinner hosted by the Trudeaus at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa before departing for Wilmington, Delaware.
ABC News’ Justin Fishel and Luke Barr contributed to this report.
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