Photo: Christine Muschi The Canadian Press Canadian Minister Marc Miller did not confirm Thursday whether Canada had changed its policies, only indicating that the two countries were exploring various solutions.
Laura Osman – The Canadian Press in Ottawa
January 27, 2024
The Federal Immigration Department rejects the Mexican government's claims that an agreement between the two countries has already led to a drop in asylum applications.
The controversy comes amid growing pressure on Ottawa to re-impose visas on Mexican citizens.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry said last week that the drop in applications in December was due to undefined “joint measures” taken by the two countries.
According to data from the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, the number of asylum applications made by Mexican citizens fell by 500 in December compared to the previous month.
However, the ministry points out that this decline is usual at this time of year.
“Requests fluctuate each month for various reasons, such as flight availability and costs,” the ministry said Friday. “We remain concerned about the upward trend in the number of Mexican asylum seekers. That is why the Government of Canada is monitoring these trends and is committed to protecting the integrity of its immigration system and the safety and security of Canadians. »
Department data shows the number of asylum applications from Mexico has increased 2,000% since the Liberals were elected, from 110 applications in 2015 to 23,995 in 2023.
This is partly explained by the government's decision in 2016 to lift the visa requirement, making it easier for Mexican nationals to apply for asylum in Canada.
Department data also shows a 46% increase in asylum applications from Mexican citizens from 2022 to 2023.
Canadian Minister Marc Miller would not confirm Thursday whether Canada had changed its policies, only indicating that the two countries were exploring various solutions.
“We cannot speculate on future policy decisions. Any new developments will be made public,” the ministry assured.
Conservatives have urged liberals to reinstate the visa requirement for Mexicans, arguing that the change has led to fraud, abuse and strain on the asylum system.
The Biden administration has also warned that human traffickers linked to Mexican cartels could exploit Canada's visa waiver regime to bring people into the United States.
The Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs argued that it was important to preserve the economic benefits derived from facilitating travel between the two countries.