The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is dismantling its facility on Quebec’s Roxham Road, an unofficial border crossing that served as an entry route into the country for countless asylum seekers.
In March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Joe Biden announced they were closing a long-standing loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement. The agreement requires asylum seekers to apply for refugee status in the first of the two countries they enter. Before March, the agreement only applied to official ports of entry.
According to figures released by the RCMP on Monday, its officers have stopped 113,000 people on Roxham Road since 2017.
“Following the amendment to the Safe Third Country Agreement, the number of migrants crossing at Roxham Road has decreased and our presence here is no longer necessary,” said Sgt. Carlos Poirier.
Poirier said the removal of its facility on Roxham Road means the RCMP will no longer have a constant physical presence on Roxham Road. Instead, it will rely on regular patrols and camera surveillance.
The spokesman said the facility on Roxham Road was due to last three to five years. Declining foot traffic and the considerable cost of upgrading the facility played a role in the RCMP’s decision to tear it down.
Poirier said he couldn’t provide a specific price tag for the RCMP’s continued presence at the unofficial border crossing, only saying it was in the millions.
“At certain times, there were hundreds of RCMP officers a week working here,” he said. “We have returned to the deployment we had before the immigration crisis.”