In the latest border closing news, one question may have emerged: What are irregular migrants? Prime Minister Justin Trudeau mentioned this term during a press conference on March 20 in regard to border crossings from the U.S. to Canada. While there has been a lot of confusion surrounding the closure, here's exactly what that means.
"Today, Canada and the United States are announcing a reciprocal arrangement where we will now be returning irregular migrants who attempt to cross anywhere at the Canada-U.S. border," the Prime Minister said.
According to the International Organization for Migration, irregular migration is the "Movement of persons that takes place outside the laws, regulations, or international agreements governing the entry into or exit from the State of origin, transit or destination."
The Immigration and Refugee Board uses "irregular" in reference to people who have come into Canada without passing through an official port of entry.
This arrangement between the two countries was just worked out in the last 24 hours.
"We recognize that these are exceptional times and someone who comes to the border to request asylum will be turned back to American authorities," Trudeau said.
He also mentioned that this is what currently happens when someone comes to an official border crossing between the two countries.
"We also have ensured that we are comfortable with this process as being in line with Canada's values on the treatment of refugees and vulnerable people," Trudeau said.
Bill Blair, minister of public safety, also spoke about border crossings during a press conference on March 20.
He assured that these measures are temporary to "maintain safety at our border."
According to the National Post, about 50 people cross the border into Canada at non-official points of entry per day.
Statistics Canada reported that 1,965 asylum Claimants were processed by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) in January 2020.
That includes people intercepted by the RCMP and brought to a CBSA designated port of entry or inland office and not asylum claims that were made at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada offices.
The Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada reported 54,739 refugee claims made by irregular border crossers from February 2017 to December 2019.
Previously, Trudeau announced the closure of the Canada-U.S. border to non-essential travel.
Blair said that the closure is "part of a larger group of measures that are important to keep Canadians safe."
That restriction comes into effect at 11:59 p.m. on March 20 and will last for 30 days. However, that is subject to renewal.