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More than 17,000 Mexicans requested asylum in Canada during the first nine months of the year.

Ottawa opens the door to the return of visas for Mexicans

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador greet each other as they attend an official welcome ceremony at the Summit North American leaders at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico, on January 11, 2023.

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Ottawa could soon review its decision to exempt Mexicans from the requirement to have a visa to enter Canadian territory. “We are looking at our options,” admits Immigration Minister Marc Miller.

For the first time, the Trudeau government is opening the door to review one of his main international policy measures promised then put in place when he came to power.

In December 2016, Justin Trudeau eliminated this requirement by evoking the importance of trade between Canada and Mexico and the need to strengthen ties between two countries. Ottawa thus put an end to a decision taken by Stephen Harper's conservatives in 2009, due to a massive refusal of Mexican asylum requests.

Currently, people do not have the right to be here [and] have no intention of returning to Mexico, explains Minister Miller, referring to the record number of Mexican asylum seekers arriving in Canada over the past in recent years.

Between January and September, nearly 17,500 Mexicans arrived in Canada to seek asylum. This is already more than double last year.

According to Minister Miller, these requests would also be far from being mostly legitimate. Generally, all countries of origin combined, the acceptance rate is close to 50%.

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For Mexicans, it's about 30%, he adds -il.

It’s clear that we’re going to have to do something to at some point.

A quote from Marc Miller, Minister of Immigration

When we lifted the requirement to have visas to enter Canada, Mexico made several representations to us which were not fulfilled, indicates Minister Miller, without giving further details.

But I think it's going to take a turn of the screw if this continues. There are a lot of options on the table, I hesitate to talk about it publicly for the moment, he says.

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“Travel from Montreal to New York”, “fast, efficient and safe transport service”, offers from smugglers, linked to Mexican criminal organizations , are numerous on social networks.

In addition to this record number of asylum seekers, Investigationalso revealed, last month, the emergence of international criminal networks which are taking advantage of this situation.

Mexican cartels are linked, for example, to clandestine crossings between Quebec and the United States, with Mexican nationals arriving earlier by air, in Montreal or Toronto.

A fake passport manufacturing industry has also emerged in Mexico City, allowing criminals of different nationalities to obtain Mexican documents to enter Canada more easily.

The number of false documents detected in Canadian airports has exploded. Since 2016, border services have intercepted nearly 15,000 fraudulent electronic travel authorizations linked to Mexican nationals, as revealed by Radio-Canada.

When these surveys were broadcast, the Trudeau government nevertheless defended this absence of visas, emphasizing the economic benefits. “The lifting of visas has generated positive results for Canadians and Canadian businesses,” argued the Department of Immigration.

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The Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada, Marc Miller opened the door to such a measure for the first time.

According to our information, the American administration has been putting pressure on Ottawa for months to take a step back.

The Trudeau government has, to date, favored the diplomatic route by asking its Mexican counterpart to act against these criminal networks, to curb local corruption and to limit the production of these false documents.

If Ottawa has not yet decided on the other actions to be taken, in order to limit the risks and reduce the volume of asylum seekers, the #x27;one of the heavily analyzed options would be to classify Mexico in a separate category.

Instead of reimposing a visa on all Mexican citizens, Canada would specifically target new travelers, we have learned.

Concretely, only those who have never set foot in the country could need such a document, which requires security checks.

Mexicans who have had a Canadian visa in the last ten years or who hold some type of valid U.S. visa could continue to come to Canada, simply by presenting an electronic travel authorization, as is currently the case.

They would thus be considered trusted travelers, in the eyes of Ottawa.

Such provisions have been put in place by the Trudeau government, in recent months, for nationals of Morocco, Argentina, Uruguay and Costa Rica.< /p>

With the collaboration of Louis Blouin

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