Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended plans his government has to grant more powers to U.S. border agents stationed within Canada. Trudeau said, however, that travelers in Canada would at all times be ruled by Canadian law. The United States and Canada reached an agreement in 2015 and since then Trudeau's government has introduced legislation (Bill C-23) to implement the agreement and would allow U.S. border agents in Canada more authority to question and search anyone seeking admission to the United States. It would also allow U.S. border agents to carry firearms. The agreement was signed by Barack Obama and Stephen Harper.
In response to critics who contend that this would increase the likelihood of abuse on the part of U.S. officials even while President Donald Trump is seeking to enforce U.S. immigration laws, Trudeau said, "Canadian laws are in place, so there is extra protection when Canadians go through American customs in Canada," Trudeau told reporters. Since Trump's crackdown began, there has been a sharp increase in the number of asylum seekers and refugees entering Canada from the U.S.
Since the 1950s, U.S. border agents have been working in Canada. The border agents pre-clear travelers seeking admittance to the U.S. while also assessing possible threats to national security. Currently, U.S. border agents are assigned to eight Canadian airports. Under the 2015 agreement with Canada, their presence may now be extended to two more airports and the train station at Montreal. Currently, persons who decide not to enter the U.S. when reaching border checkpoints are allowed to leave. The new law, proposed by the Trudeau government, would allow the U.S. border agents to question and even strip search travelers who have decided not to enter the United States. The new provision is believed to be needed to thwart terrorists seeking weaknesses at U.S.-operated border facilities.
Members of the leftist New Democrat party are pressuring Trudeau over the proposed legislation, claiming that the U.S. is racially profiling Canadians who want to visit the U.S. "Will he stand up to the bully?" asked Jenny Kwan in a reference to President Trump. Kwan is a member of Canada's House of Commons.
U.S. Customs pre-clearance
facilities are also found in the Dublin and Shannon airports in the Republic of Ireland, the United Arab Emirates, and various Caribbean island nations.