Canada, US kept their Safe Third Country Agreement a secret. Know why?
Ottawa/IBNS: Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden jointly announced last week a revised Safe Third Country Agreement to control cross-border migration, media reports said.
Both Trudeau and Biden had agreed to the revisions a year prior and had not disclosed it ever since.
Although the new deal was signed in Ottawa by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser on March 29, 2022, and in Washington on April 15 by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the existence of the agreement was withheld even from provincial governments.
“We were kept completely in the dark,” one provincial official reportedly said.
The new Safe Third Country Agreement facilitates both countries to turn back migrants who are looking to make asylum claims at unofficial points of entry such as Quebec‘s Roxham Road.
Having become a top political issue in both countries, particularly in Quebec, home of the irregular crossing at Roxham Road, irregular cross-border migration issues in Quebec had been dubbed by the Trudeau Liberals as it was critical to their re-election chances.
Quebec’s immigration minister Christine Fréchette found out only a few minutes before the news first appeared in the media last Thursday.
The agreement was kept confidential by Government officials until the official announcement as they were worried about triggering a stampede at the border.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)