This story is a staff report from The Paper.

US Rep. Yvette Herrell (R-NM2), campaign photo

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On Saturday, GOP Rep. Yvette Herrell said that she would be introducing legislation to grant temporary asylum to those involved in the Canadian trucker protests.

“Just as we provide asylum for political prisoners, we should do the same for truckers who have been subjected to violence, had their property confiscated, and their bank accounts frozen by a government that is quickly becoming the embarrassment of the free world,” Herrell said in a statement on Twitter. “I am introducing legislation that would temporarily grant asylum to innocent Canadian protesters who are being persecuted by their own government.”

Canadian officials say that protests, which have been going on for three weeks in front of Parliament Hill in Ottowa have largely calmed down. The blockade of truckers, both American and Canadian, is now gone. Between Friday and Saturday, over 170 people were arrested in Ottowa for a prolonged protest of Canada’s COVID mandates. Herrell likened Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s response to the protest to that of ‘an authoritarian regime like Venezuela.’

The protests have had economic consequences as well on both sides of the border, including for the American auto industry, with the demonstrations having blocked the Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit to Windsor, Ontario.

U.S. officials have said they are concerned that the protests seen in Canada could be making their way to Washington, D.C. and elsewhere in the country. There have been similar protests in The Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand. Capitol Police said that they were aware of plans for truck convoys to come to the District around the time of President Biden’s first State of the Union. 

Herrell’s call for asylum for Canadians through the northern border is in contrast to her approach on the southern border where she has called for expanded in-depth background checks for refugees and asylum seekers entering from Central and South American countries. She has also called for closing the southern border until all US COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

Herrell’s Canadian asylum plan quickly drew criticism on Twitter, including from Gabe Vasquez, a former Democratic Las Cruces city councilor running to unseat her in the upcoming election. ”I promise to put the interests of #NM02 residents above those of Canadian truckers,” Vasquez tweeted.