Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that irregular migrants crossing into Canada on foot from the U.S will be turned away when they reach the border as part broader shutdown amid the new coronavirus pandemic.
“Canada and the United States are announcing a reciprocal arrangement that we will now be returning irregular migrants that attempt to cross anywhere at the Canada-U.S. border,” Trudeau said outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa.
The move comes amid security concerns around screening people at irregular boarding crossings for COVID-19 and hours before the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to all but essential travel goes into effect at midnight.
The Trudeau government had previously looked at placing any border crossers into mandatory self-isolation.
“Those who’ve already crossed the border will be put in isolation,” Trudeau said. “But in the future, those trying to cross the border irregularly will be released back into the U.S.
Since the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada began tracking irregular border crossers in February 2017, Canada has received roughly 54,739 refugee claims.
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