ST-BERNARD-DE-LACOLLE, Que. -- Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says he will close the loophole that allows tens of thousands of asylum seekers to claim refugee status.

Scheer is announcing his immigration plan at the Roxham Road crossing in Hemmingford, Que., which is separated from the United States by a few metres of scrub.

The federal government says nearly 50,000 people have entered Canada there in the last two years, most of them intending to claim asylum once they're on Canadian soil.

Scheer says he will close the loophole in the Safe Third Country Agreement that prevents asylum seekers from claiming refugee protection in Canada if they arrive at an official border checkpoint from a country that is considered safe, such as the U.S.

But if they can cross on foot through unofficial entry points, they can claim refugee status once they arrive in Canada.

Scheer says his plan to stop flow of so-called irregular border crossers includes hiring 250 additional border officers and make it a priority to fund services as language training, credential recognition and the protection of vulnerable people.