Letter to Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau on Recent Agreement with Biden Limiting Immigrants’ Rights to Asylum

by Carol F. Yost

Perhaps I should add some context: The Canadian Prime Minister and Joe Biden have agreed to limit the ability of immigrants to gain asylum. Roxham Road, on the Canadian border, used to be a place where migrants could enter Canada from the United States and apply for asylum.

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau,

I’m very distressed that you’re putting limits on people’s ability to gain asylum. Why do my President and you seem to be partners in crime so often?

Yes, we’re neighbors, but could we ever cooperate for a reason that actually benefits people?
Could you imagine yourself as an immigrant? Look at what they have to go through. It’s a horror from beginning to end. What’s especially bad is the fact that my country has contributed to their suffering. And Canada has joined the U.S. in causing trouble in Haiti. I wish you would think about the admirable statements you send out on behalf of people’s culture and welfare. What do they mean, if agreements forged in the quiet of an afternoon walk or a cup of tea are against what you declare?

This is especially outrageous considering the fact that Joe Biden and you both carefully kept the agreement a secret for a year while various agencies weighed in.

When I read about the tribulations of immigrants, I almost feel as if this were all happening to me.

How can anybody allow this?

Stop sending people away, treating them like criminals because they didn’t comply with some damn fool technicality! Just stop! You two are up to no good here. When our nations can afford huge amounts of money for armaments, fattening the wallets of trillionaires who manufacture those armaments and in return make fat campaign contributions, they can instead spend that same money on behalf of people who suffer because of the bad deals our countries have contrived to arrange overseas.

There should be no such thing as illegal entry here. In the case of immigration, the laws are unjust—either prohibitive or unjustifiably difficult to comply with. Immigrants are not here to deprive us of our birthrights, the gifts we have received by virtue of being born here. They are trying to survive and find a place they can be well expressed and useful in. We should hope to be good enough for their service, and if we try really hard, perhaps, just perhaps, we’ll be worthy.

Roxham Road used to be a place that stood for hope. Let it continue to be that way. Roxham Road! Roxham Road! I feel a song coming.