• Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a press conference on Thursday that the Trump administration was 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 had resisted the idea, adding that 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 are apprehended at the US-Canada border.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday confirmed reports that the Trump administration was 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 that his government had “been in discussions” with the White House on the matter and that Canada had resisted the idea.

“Canada and the United States 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 had “benefited our two countries and both economies tremendously, and we feel that it needs to remain that way.”

Canada’s Global News was the first to report on the US-Canada border discussions, citing sources that said troops would be stationed roughly 18 miles from the border and use remote sensors to flag people crossing.

President Donald Trump acknowledged the reports during a press conference Thursday afternoon, inaccurately saying there were already troops posted at the US-Canada border.

He compared the notion to an earlier decision to send troops to the US-Mexico border, calling it “equal justice to a certain extent” and complaining about illegal trade.

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“You know, we have a lot of things coming in from Canada. We have some illegal trade that we don’t like. We have very strong sanctions on some. We have very strong tariffs on dumping steel,” he said.

CBC News reported that the White House wanted to place 1,000 troops at the border.

Canada and the US have already closed much of the shared border to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, with both countries barring nonessential travel.

The Trump administration has previously deployed troops to the US-Mexico border in a surveillance capacity, as 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 shows that in fiscal 2019, 4,408 people were apprehended at the US’s northern border, roughly half of whom were Mexican nationals. The number of crossings paled in comparison with the US’s southern border, which saw 851,508 apprehensions in the same period.