An immigration official in the Canadian province of Quebec has said it is “surprising” to learn that New York City is sending migrants to the country’s border.
New York City mayor Eric Adams told Fox 5 that his administration was assisting migrants who had been sent to his city but wanted to go elsewhere.
“Some want to go to Canada, some want to go to warmer states, and we are there for them as they continue to move on with their pursuit of this dream,” Mr Adams said.
The New York Post has reported that migrants in New York City are being given free bus tickets to Plattsburgh, New York state, about 20 miles (32km) south of the Canadian border. From there, they pay taxis and shuttles to take them to Quebec.
Quebec immigration minister Christine Fréchette told reporters in Montreal that the development was “surprising”.
She said it highlighted the need to “solve the problem of Roxham Road”, referring to an unofficial border crossing south of Montreal used by thousands of asylum seekers every year.
“I think it makes the urgency of the situation even more apparent,” Ms Fréchette said, adding that Canada and the US were negotiating to update the Safe Third Country Agreement.
The treaty, signed in 2002, requires migrants to make an asylum claim in the first country they enter, whether it is the US or Canada.
But it only applies at official border crossings, which Roxham Road is not. This loophole allows the migrants arriving from New York to have their asylum cases heard by Canadian immigration authorities.
New York City has an ongoing migrant crisis, as states on the southern US border bus newly arrived migrants to America’s most populous city.
In a January visit to Texas, Mayor Adams told reporters there was “no room in New York” for the migrants.
Days before, he had released a statement saying his city had welcomed 40,000 asylum seekers since last spring, providing them with food, shelter and other resources.
“We are at our breaking point,” the statement read. “Based off our projections, we anticipate being unable to continue sheltering arriving asylum seekers on our own and have submitted an emergency mutual aid request to the State of New York.”
Mr Adams confirmed to Fox 5 on Monday that the city was providing free bus tickets for migrants. “If they are seeking to go somewhere else, we are helping in the reticketing process,” he said.