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A family of asylum seekers from Colombia is met by RCMP officers after crossing the border at Roxham Road into Canada on Feb. 9, in Champlain, New York.Ryan Remiorz

Let’s hold all our politicians to one simple rule about Roxham Road: Don’t tell us what you want to do about it. Tell us how you would do it.

Quebec politicians have been calling for the unofficial crossing on the border between Quebec and New York State to be closed. And Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has called for the feds to do so within 30 days.

But as it turns out, there is no switch that opens and closes the border. So what is it they are actually proposing?

Mr. Poilievre said that all it takes is a simple decision, but he couldn’t say what the government should decide to do.

Of course, there are plenty of reasons why the government should do something. People want the border to be under control. They want migration to be safe and orderly.

And there is palpable frustration when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau essentially says he’s got nothing other than time to wait for U.S. President Joe Biden to solve the problem by changing a border agreement. And that’s essentially what Mr. Trudeau was saying Wednesday when he said that if Roxham Road was closed, asylum-seekers would just cross at other places. It’s probably true, but not a solution.

So how can it be done? Quebec Premier François Legault wants a deal with the U.S., too, but faster. Mr. Poilievre – and most politicians – don’t want to specify. Real proposals usually involve doing things the politicians don’t want to talk about. And many so far have been ineffective or ridiculous.

When People’s Party Leader Maxime Bernier was running for the leadership of the Conservative Party in 2017, he proposed sending the military. In 2018, two Conservative MPs proposed declaring the entire 8,891-kilometre border an official border crossing, arguing that would trick the U.S. into taking back those who entered Canada at Roxham Road. That same year, then-Parti Québécois leader Jean-François Lisée briefly suggested a fence, or “a sign, a cedar grove, a police officer, whatever.”

Mr. Poilievre told reporters on Tuesday that it must be easy, because Mr. Trudeau shut down Roxham Road during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. But that didn’t happen with a snap of the fingers. When the two countries shut their borders, the U.S. agreed that Canada could direct border-crossers back. When the borders reopened, that arrangement ended. And here we are again.

That’s one thing to remember: Once they set foot into Canada, non-Americans can’t be sent back to the U.S. unless the U.S. agrees. The Safe Third Country Agreement allows for asylum-seekers who enter Canada at official border posts to be turned back, but not those who cross in between. Canadian governments have tried for years to get the U.S. to change that, to no avail. On Wednesday, Mr. Trudeau said he’s working on it.

Of course, the simplest way to stop people from crossing at Roxham Road would be to scrap the Safe Third Country Agreement. Then asylum-seekers would just show up at official border crossings, as they did before 2004. And as Mr. Legault pointed out the other day, Mr. Trudeau tweeted in 2017 that Canada welcomes those fleeing persecution and war. It’s just that scrapping the agreement would almost certainly bring a lot more of them.

Some have proposed a fence. But obviously, people can go around it. There are lots of places to cross the border. It might disrupt the organized route to Roxham Road but police would probably have to intercept border-crossers at more places.

And there is Mr. Bernier’s idea: Send in the troops. Or police. But the real question is what they would do. Presumably they wouldn’t shoot everyone. Would all asylum-seekers be thrown in jail indefinitely?

Maybe there are better ideas. It would be nice to hear them. But Canadian politicians who don’t tell us how they would do it are avoiding the talk about costs, or the potential for border breaches to proliferate, or locking people up, or toughening the system.

Those are things debated by American politicians, who argue about harsher rules to discourage asylum-seekers from trying to enter the U.S. Mr. Biden is proposing refusing asylum claims from people who travelled through Central America.

But now, Mr. Trudeau has essentially admitted he won’t do anything until Mr. Biden agrees to solve the problem for him.

And those such as Mr. Poilievre who call for Roxham Road to be closed are just mouthing meaningless words until they tell us how.

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