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Canadian border agents have intercepted nearly 15,000 fraudulent travel authorizations from Mexican nationals since the end of 2016. (Photo d 'archives)
Romain Schué (View profile)
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More and more documents fraudulent and suspicious originating in particular from Mexican criminal networks attempting to arrive in Canada are currently detected by border agents and their intelligence services.
To date, 14,957 fraudulent Electronic Travel Authorizations (eTAs) linked to Mexican nationals have been intercepted before the border, says a spokesperson for the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
This document is required for visa-exempt foreigners traveling to Canada by air. This is particularly the case for Mexicans, since the end of 2016.
As recently revealed by
Enquête, criminal organizations are using this measure put in place by Justin Trudeau’s government to their advantage. This decision also allowed the emergence of networks of fake passport traffickers in Mexico, to make it easier to travel to Canada.
We are facing something again which was not done before, explains Karine Côté-Boucher, professor at the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal, who admits to being “worried” about the scale of this data.
This fraudulent document will allow [the holders] to engage in other criminal activities.< /p>A quote from Karine Côté-Boucher, professor at the School of Criminology at the University of Montreal
Previously, Canada was a target for drug trafficking issues. Now, we are able to say that there is a shift in criminal activities. There are new types of crimes, with these networks of fraudulent documents, she continues.
The eTA is normally an administrative formality at the cost of $7, pay online. It is essentially a self-declaration that allows Immigration Canada and customs officers to verify whether the person wishing to come to the country as a tourist is not subject to criminal prosecution.
According to our information, by analyzing the elements completed by applicants, border agents have discovered in recent years thousands of eTA applications specifically linked to criminal networks and to a network of South American thieves, increasingly present in Quebec, who target luxury residences.
These criminal groups are believed to be involved in the massive increase in illegal crossings between Canada and the United States, but also in an undeclared work industry in Canada. A fraudulent eTA would also be used by people holding a Mexican passport, doing business with these networks, to arrive in the country to request asylum.
These same groups sometimes take care of completing and paying these eTAs themselves. Which can help Canadian agents identify them.
Often, we will have a group that will produce documents that are similar, emphasizes Karine Côté-Boucher. This allows criminal intelligence to identify them and transmit information on the ground, in airports.
The CBSA, for its part, refused to give details on this subject, claiming that information relating to borders […] is considered protected.
But the figures officially mentioned by the CBSA do not represent the complete picture of the situation, since they do not include the multiple eTAs, initially authorized before be identified as suspicious, which have not yet been canceled by Canadian authorities.
According to our information, alerts issued by intelligence agents can sometimes take months before being examined, thus allowing possible criminals to enter the country. The fault, we learned, lies in a large inventory of files to be processed by Immigration Canada (IRCC).
Questioned about this On this subject, the federal Department of Immigration ensures that it works closely with border services “to maintain the integrity of the eTA program as well as the safety and security of Canadians.”
CBSA verification requests are taken seriously and are reviewed in a timely manner by IRCC .
A quote from Rémi Larivière, spokesperson for Immigration Canada
However, no specific details on the time frame for analyzing these warnings were provided to us. Applications containing adverse information are carefully reviewed by IRCC and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, Immigration Canada simply responded.
The lifting of this requirement visa regime for Mexican nationals has also favored the arrival of members and representatives of several Mexican cartels, including the Sinaloa cartel and the Jalisco New Generation cartel.
This is what several reports obtained by Radio-Canada through the Access to Information Act reveal, despite numerous redacted pages.
To arrive in Canada, these criminals regularly use false documents. They are involved in drug and arms trafficking, the importation of narcotics, cocaine, fentanyl and even money laundering.
These fears had also been raised by the CBSA intelligence service.
In the next three years, Mexican drug cartels should take of the magnitude in Canada, the federal agency specified in 2016, in a confidential report.
In this same document, it is mentioned that the lifting of the visa process for Mexicans will also reduce the opportunity to identify and stop individuals linked to cartels who want to travel to Canada.
Romain Schué (View profile)