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Biden, Trudeau reach deal to stop asylum seekers at unofficial border crossings

The pact is likely to be announced by Biden during his Ottawa visit

US-Canada meet President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden pose for members of the media as they arrive to visit with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau at Rideau Cottage in Canada | AP

United States (US) President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have reached a deal to reject asylum seekers at unofficial border crossings.

Biden had arrived in Canada on Thursday for talks with his Canadian counterpart on various global challenges including the war in Ukraine, climate change, trade, migration and assertive China.

According to reports, the two nations reached an agreement to update rules for migrants seeking asylum.

The pact will be officially announced by Biden during his Ottawa visit on Friday.

The US has seen a rise in migrant crossings there from Canada.

Reportedly, the migration deal eliminates a loophole under the existing rules that will allow both countries to turn away asylum seekers at the borders. It has made thousands of people cross through the unofficial checkpoints into Canada from US and seeking asylum.

As part of the agreement, Canada is expected to announce that 15,000 migrants from the Western Hemisphere will be given slots to apply to enter the country, reported Associated Press (AP).

The new policy will apply to people without US or Canadian citizenship and those caught within 14 days of crossing the border between the two nations.

After the Chinese spy balloon incident last month, national security and air defences are top priority.

Canada plans to update its radar systems and has agreed to an accelerated timeline for spending billions more on military upgrades for NORAD, which monitors the skies above the continent, according to the senior Canadian government official, reported AP.

As pet the 2002 agreement between the US and Canada, people seeking asylum must apply in the first country they arrive in. Migrants who go to an official crossing are returned to the U.S. and told to apply there. But those who arrive in Canada at a location other than a port of entry are allowed to stay and request protection, as has been happening on Roxham Road between Champlain, New York, and Quebec, reported AP.

According to John Kirby, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, the visit is about taking stock of the relationship between both the nations. “We're going to talk about our two democracies stepping up to meet the challenges of our time,” he added.

Among other matters of discussions would also include tapping critical minerals that will enable the production of electric vehicles, and military and economic commitments at a moment that observers say is the most dangerous since World War II.

Biden will address Parliament and Trudeau will host him for a state dinner Friday evening. Since Biden became president, it's his first visit to Canada.

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