Roxham Road: Trudeau responds to Quebec

While Immigration Minister Jean Boulet says he is “disappointed” that Ottawa is refusing to close Roxham Road, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday acknowledged that Quebec has “extra weight and additional responsibility” but reiterated that the federal government stands ready , to help by absorbing some of the extra costs of the system.

• Also read: Roxham Road: Boulet disappointed with Justin Trudeau’s response

• Also read: Chemin Roxham: “Get busy,” says Régine Laurent to the federal government

• Also read: Chemin Roxham: a speech “utterly stupid and detached from reality” by Trudeau

Remember that François Legault challenged Justin Trudeau head-on on Wednesday, asking him to close Roxham Road (reopened last November), where at the current rate a record number of more than 35,000 irregular crossings are being arrested this year.

“[…] If we closed Roxham Road people would go elsewhere. We have a huge border that we are not going to arm or put up fences,” Mr Trudeau said at a news conference.

By allowing irregular migrants to cross the border at Lacolle, “we can at least control them, we can at least carry out security checks, we can at least make sure they don’t get lost and are in Canada illegally,” the prime minister continued.

For him, this is a “position based on compassion”.

“I understand that this affects a lot of people and creates some controversy for certain political parties, but the reality is that we are a country where we follow rules, where people who arrive here and make statements about asylum seekers do this should have the right to have their files analyzed.”

Joel Lemay / QMI Agency

Talks with the United States on reforming the Safe Third Country Agreement signed in 2004 have stalled for several years.

Mr. Trudeau assured that they were going well and that Canada is looking to “modernize” the agreement.

“We know it’s not quite ideal when people return to Canada infrequently. Ideally, we could ensure that people coming to Canada do so through our official border crossings that have the capacity to manage these files in the right way,” Justin Trudeau said.

Roxham Road has become a real ‘sieve’, Mr Boulet criticized earlier, repeating that Quebec’s reception and accommodation capacity was exceeded.

Mr Boulet, who is maintaining his request to close Roxham Road, found the response offered yesterday by Prime Minister Trudeau unsatisfactory.

“Disappointed? Yes, and if we refer to the strictness of the immigration system in Canada, I regret: that’s not what we see on the ground, ”reacted the minister.

“The processing times of both work permits and asylum seekers at the Immigration and Refugee Service [jusqu’à 14 mois]in my opinion, these are delays that are unacceptable,” reiterated Mr Boulet.

Asked about the issue, Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday Canada has “a rigorous system that will continue to do the job.”

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