MONTREAL—Quebec Premier François Legault has urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make the flow of migrants across the Roxham Road border crossing a priority during an upcoming meeting with the U.S. president.
In a letter to Trudeau dated Sunday, Legault noted that the federal government needs to renegotiate an agreement with the United States that has caused asylum seekers to enter Canada at irregular border crossings.
Legault said that Quebec’s capacity to welcome people entering through the unofficial crossing in southern Quebec has been overwhelmed, and that the tens of thousands of unexpected arrivals have made it harder to stop the decline of the French language in Montreal.
According to federal statistics, more than 39,000 people claimed asylum after they were intercepted by the RCMP crossing Canada’s land border into Quebec in 2022, compared with 369 in the rest of the country.
The premier welcomed the federal government’s decision to transfer migrants crossing into Quebec to Ontario but said in the letter that Ottawa will have to do more to redirect migrants to other provinces.
Trudeau is scheduled to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden in March.
Asylum seekers cross the border from New York into Canada at Roxham Road, March 18, 2020, in Hemmingford, Que. (The Canadian Press/Ryan Remiorz)