Canada has abandoned a policy of turning back asylum-seekers who cross illegally between border points.
Under the policy, which came into force in January 2017, Canada would send asylum-seekers back to where they crossed.
Now it will give them back to the border, the Vancouver Sun reported.
“We heard from people all across Canada and across the country about the importance of our being completely open and transparent about who we are as a government and why,” said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
The policy shift came after a federal court in August ruled Canada’s practice of turning away asylum-seekers was unlawful.
The ruling put the Canada-U.S. Safe Third Country Agreement in jeopardy and resulted in a 45-day clock that was stopped and asylum-seekers being granted refugee status in Canada.
“In relation to the Safe Third Country Agreement, we took a clear position in response to this court decision last August … that Canada is not the United States of America, and that any effort to circumvent the requirements of that agreement would not be tolerated.
“We are now putting in place a process with the U.S. to re-establish normal operations between Canada and the United States,” Goodale said.
Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer and Liberal government MPs on Wednesday were greeted at the border by thousands of supporters.
“If the Conservatives think putting another fence, any fence, along the Canada-U.S. border is going to stop hundreds of thousands of illegal border crossers, they’re sadly mistaken,” said Goodale.
Crossings at the Canada-U.S. border have soared in recent months, with about 7,000 asylum-seekers illegally crossing between points of entry between January and August.
The influx at the border raises the question of whether Canada is being invaded by the vast wave of asylum-seekers from Mexico and Central America.
The major Mexican newspaper, El Universal, noted the numbers of asylum-seekers entering Canada have passed half the number the Immigration and Refugee Board had expected.
The Gleaner, Jamaica’s largest newspaper, reported that Haitians are the major group illegally crossing the U.S.-Canada border.
“Police said that Haitians now make up 44 percent of the border-crossers who were stopped and turned back at the checkpoints,” the newspaper said.