MONTREAL – An unofficial border crossing in rural Quebec used by asylum seekers to enter Canada has reopened after being closed for much of the pandemic.
The intersection at Roxham Road, on the Canada-U.S. border south of Montreal, is where thousands of people have crossed the country to seek asylum.
The federal government ordered the border closure in March 2020 because the pandemic closed the US-Canada border, but as of Sunday, the order was lifted.
The Refugee Council of Canada says that aside from the rules regarding the COVID-19 quarantine, the situation is the same as it was before the pandemic, with claimants having to enter outside an official port of entry to avoid be returned to the United States immediately. .
Under the 2004 Safe Third Country agreement, Canada and the United States mutually recognize each other as safe and potential refugees must file their claim in the first country they visit.
But the agreement only applies to claims made at an official border crossing, so if asylum seekers enter a so-called irregular border crossing, they are entitled to a hearing.
Janet Dench, the council’s chief executive, said supporters don’t expect the large numbers of visitors seen in 2017 and 2018.
– This report by the Canadian Press was first published on November 23, 2021.