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Migration and TikTok were among the topics covered on Biden's visit to Canada

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

President Biden was in Ottawa today. Usually, U.S. presidents visit the capitol of Canada early on in their terms, but in a speech to the Canadian parliament, Biden tried to make up for the delay by talking about the close ties between the two neighbors. And he even made a joke about Toronto's beleaguered hockey team.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: I have to say, I like your teams, except the Leafs.

(LAUGHTER)

CHANG: Ahead of the speech, Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau talked through some difficult issues. NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez is in Ottawa at the moment with the president and joins us now. Hey, Franco.

FRANCO ORDOÑEZ, BYLINE: Hey, Ailsa.

CHANG: Hey. So I understand that one of the tougher discussions today was about migration, though Biden and Trudeau did come to some agreement. Can you tell us more about that agreement?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah, that was the biggest news out of this trip. I mean, both countries have been struggling with dramatic wave of migrants arriving at the border. And it's really been a challenge for both Biden and Trudeau. We've, of course, reported on all the pressure Republicans are putting on Biden. You know, now Trudeau is under similar pressure from opposition politicians in Canada. Much of that concern in Canada has been over an unofficial border crossing in New York - or between New York and Quebec, known as Roxham Road. And concerns got so high that Trudeau promised to bring up a treaty that Canada has with the U.S. that critics largely blame for the illegal crossings. He did that, and, well, the U.S. and Canada agreed to make some changes to the agreement.

The changes that were made allow both countries to turn away more migrants at unofficial border crossings like Roxham Road. And we're talking about asylum seekers here. And also part of the deal - Canada will accept an additional 15,000 migrants per year who arrive at the U.S. southern border, including people from Haiti, Colombia and Ecuador.

CHANG: Well, can we talk about the migrants coming from Haiti, fleeing violence there? Because Biden and Trudeau, I understand, talked about how to address that situation. What came out of that?

ORDOÑEZ: You know, that's a big one, and it still hasn't been resolved. The White House has been pressuring Canada to lead a military force to help stabilize Haiti, which has really been gripped by gang violence. But after initially being kind of open to the idea of leading an effort, Trudeau has been backing away, and he's saying outside intervention doesn't work.

He did say today that Canada would contribute $100 million to support police forces in Haiti. He also announced new sanctions. Now, the White House has insisted that military intervention is needed. Biden, though, seems to be backing down a bit.

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BIDEN: Any decision about military force, we've - it's all been raised - we think would have to be done in consultation with the United Nations and with the Haitian government. And so that is not off the table, but that is not in play at the moment.

CHANG: And in their joint press conference, I saw that they got into the whole issue of TikTok, which has been in the headlines here in the U.S. all week. What did we learn?

ORDOÑEZ: Yeah. The Canadian government has followed the lead of the Biden administration. Canada has banned TikTok from government devices just like the Biden administration did. Both are concerned about privacy and security issues because it's owned by a Chinese company. Trudeau was actually asked how his kids reacted. They're teenagers, and they had to take the app off their government-issued phones, and they were not happy about it, as you can imagine.

CHANG: Right.

ORDOÑEZ: But he said he was relieved. He wants them to go outside more rather than be glued to their devices.

CHANG: That's right. That is NPR White House correspondent Franco Ordoñez in Ottawa. Thank you so much, Franco.

ORDOÑEZ: Thanks, Ailsa. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Franco Ordoñez is a White House Correspondent for NPR's Washington Desk. Before he came to NPR in 2019, Ordoñez covered the White House for McClatchy. He has also written about diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and immigration, and has been a correspondent in Cuba, Colombia, Mexico and Haiti.