Justin Trudeau Says the Trump Administration Wants to Station Troops Near the Canadian Border to Prevent Illegal Crossings
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference Thursday that the Trump administration is seeking to station troops at the US-Canada border.
- The measures would be temporary, and geared toward preventing illegal border crossings amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to Global News.
- Trudeau said his government has resisted the idea, saying it was “very much in both of our interests” to keep the US-Canada border “unmilitarized.”
- President Donald Trump has previously stationed troops at the US’s southern border to help conduct surveillance, but far fewer people cross the US-Canada border.
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday confirmed reports that the Trump administration is seeking to temporarily station troops near the US-Canada border to prevent illegal crossings amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At a press conference, Trudeau told reporters his government has “been in discussions” with the White House on the matter. He added that Canada has resisted the idea.
“Canada and the US have the longest unmilitarized border in the world, and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way,” Trudeau said, adding that the lack of border militarization has “benefited our two countries and both economies tremendously, and we feel that it needs to remain that way.”
Canada’s Global News was first to report the US-Canada border discussions, citing sources that said troops would be stationed roughly 18 miles from the border and would use remote sensors to flag border-crossers.
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CBC News reported that the White House wants to place 1,000 troops at the border.
Both Canada and the US have already closed much of the shared border to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, with both countries barring non-essential travel.
The Trump administration has previously deployed troops to the US-Mexico border, but only in a surveillance capacity because US law bars the military from enforcing domestic laws.
Global News reported that a deployment to the US-Canada border would be similar, with troops monitoring the sensors and passing the information to Border Patrol agents to make arrests.
There are not typically large numbers of people illegally crossing into the US from Canada.
Customs and Border Protection data show that in fiscal year 2019, just 4,408 people were apprehended at the US’s northern border — roughly half of them Mexican nationals, and the rest from countries across the world.
The number of crossings pales in comparison with the US’s southern border, which saw 851,508 apprehensions in the same period of time.
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