Quebec Premier François Legault is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to send a new message to discourage asylum seekers from coming to Canada, citing a 2017 tweet from the prime minister. Legault believes this tweet has caused the massive number of illegal border crossings at Roxham Road, which connects Quebec and New York State. This follows Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette’s confirmation that the province has redirected most of the nearly 400 asylum seekers who passed through Roxham Road last weekend to Ontario and other jurisdictions.
Legault stated that Canada has exceeded its welcoming capacity, citing a shortage of housing, schools, and hospitals. Frédéric Bastien, chair of the Quebec-based activist group Justice pour le Quebec, also argued that past remarks made by Trudeau prompted “a wave of thousands of migrants” to illegally cross into Canada through the Roxham Road. Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez, Trudeau’s Quebec lieutenant, said negotiations are underway with other provinces to redirect migrants entering Quebec.
When asked about Legault’s remarks and whether he has communicated with U.S. officials, Trudeau said his cabinet is looking into the issue. Eric Adams, mayor of New York City, touted that the city is providing free bus tickets to the Canada-U.S. border for migrants who want to claim asylum in Canada. Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette expressed surprise to hear about this and said it highlights the need for Ottawa to solve the problem at Roxham Road. The Canada Border Services Agency said it is aware that asylum seekers from the United States are given free bus tickets taking them to Plattsburgh, New York.