Experts: Canada and U.S. reach border deal on irregular migrants

Published: 24 March 2023

The Trudeau government has reached a long-discussed deal with the United States on irregular migration which will allow Ottawa to close the Roxham Road irregular crossing at the Canada-U.S. border. The deal would close a loophole in the agreement, which came into force in 2004 and currently prevents Canadian law enforcement from turning back asylum seekers who enter Canada from the United States at border locations that are not official ports of entry. (CBC News)

Here are some experts from McGill University that can provide comment on this issue:

Pearl Eliadis, Associate Professor (Professional), Max Bell School of Public Policy

How do you ‘close’ Roxham Road or indeed any other part of the Canada-U.S. border that is an unofficial crossing? This announcement is, in my view, a political statement to appease critics. People cannot be physically prevented from coming across any other point of the border, near Roxham road or elsewhere. This measure will just displace the problem and is a micro solution to a macro problem.”

Pearl Eliadis is a human rights lawyer, an Associate Professor (professional) at the Max Bell School of Public Policy and a Full Member of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at the Faculty of Law. She has more than two decades of public policy experience in federal and provincial governments, and she has led successfully complex, global projects with the UN and other multilateral agencies, with projects and in-country missions In Afghanistan, China, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nepal, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tajikistan and Timor Leste.

pearl.eliadis [at] (English, French)

Jennifer Elrick, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology

“Closing Roxham Road is good political theatre that might give the Canadian public the impression that the government has absolute control over the border. But in real terms, it will do nothing to change the dynamics of international migration that are leading to rising numbers of asylum seekers in Canada. It will only force people to seek out other, more dangerous routes into the country and, therefore, put more lives at risk.”

Jennifer Elrick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology and the Canadian Studies Program Director at the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada (MISC). She studies connections between migration governance, diversity, and social stratification.

jennifer.elrick [at] (English, German)

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