Why Is New York City Sending Latino Immigrants to Canada?

The city’s authorities are offering to move immigrants to the Canadian border if they are planning to enter that country

Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
February 10, 2023 | 11:11 AM

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Bloomberg Línea — Nearly 45,000 immigrants have arrived in New York City since the spring of last year with the intention of seeking asylum, but with the shelter system already at capacity, authorities are offering to move them to the Canadian border if they intend to cross, according to El Tiempo Latino.

“New York can’t take any more. We can’t”, the city’s Mayor Eric Adams said this week, and announced on February 7 that a sixth Humanitarian Emergency Response and Relief Centre with special facilities and services tailored to immigrants would open at a Holiday Inn in Manhattan to help cope with the influx.

This is in addition to the more than 80 emergency homeless shelters already open.

In the face of this situation, Adams will support the mostly Venezuelan immigrants to reach Plattsburgh, which is very close to the Canada-US border, so they can cross into Quebec. The National Guard is handing out free bus tickets to Plattsburgh, The New York Post reported


Quebec Immigration Minister Christine Fréchette said it is “surprising” that New York authorities are sending immigrants to the Canadian border.

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Safe Third Country Agreement

The legal basis on which New York is reportedly promoting the movement of immigrants to Canada is the Safe Third Country Agreement, signed in 2002 between Canada and the United States, which stipulates that immigrants must apply for asylum in the first of the two countries through which they enter, and must not apply a second time at their next official border crossing.

Once in Canada, individuals are eligible to apply for refugee status.


According to Canada’s Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, the agreement needs to be extensively reconfigured howevee, as it does not regulate irregular points of entry, such as Roxham Road, which is close to Plattsburgh.

The ‘American dream’

For the Mayor of New York, many immigrants only know the city from movies and television and are being misled about the city’s ability to care for them.

“There are websites that advertise that in New York City, basically, the streets are paved with gold, that there are automatic jobs,” Adams said. “There’s an image that when you come, you’re automatically in this great place where all these resources are available.”

Separately on Thursday, President Joe Biden denied that his administration is considering deporting large numbers of non-Mexican immigrants, and said he did not believe it would be necessary to do so even if pandemic-era border restrictions are lifted, Bloomberg reported.

Biden called such reports “completely wrong” in an interview with Telemundo and highlighted humanitarian parole programs already in place in some countries aimed at curbing the number of migrants seeking to cross the southern US border illegally.

“First of all, we committed the parole policy for: Nicaragua, El Salvador, Haiti, Venezuela and Cuba. And immigration, the number of people coming in, is down over 90% because there is now a regular way to do it,” Biden said.

That policy, expanded last month, allows authorities to quickly remove immigrants from those countries using a controversial public health rule known as Title 42, which has not yet been repealed but is expected to expire in March.

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