Visa removal repercussions
This week is a lesson in cause and effect.
Looking back to to 2009, when former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper imposed a visa requirement on Mexican travellers visiting Canada.
What is a visa document?
A visa provides a foreigner mobility to travel to and enter Canada and must be applied for prior to travel.
This visa requirement was implemented as a measure to reduce the rising number of fraudulent refugee claims from Mexico.
The Conservative government stated that the cost of processing 9400 asylum claims from Mexico in 2008 had amounted to nearly $500 million for Canadian taxpayers.
In the 2015 election, Liberal Party Leader Justin Trudeau promised to remove the Mexican visa requirement if elected. He described Harper’s approach to Mexican relations as “belligerent and borderline churlish.” Trudeau fulfilled this promise in 2016 after becoming Prime Minister.
However, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRBC) reports that asylum claims from Mexicans began rising almost immediately after the visa requirement was lifted. In 2016, there were 250 such claims made to the IRBC, a number that spiked to 17,490 by 2023.
The removal of the visa requirement has resulted in repercussions, such as a substantial rise in illegal crossings from Canada into the United States, as observed by the U.S. border patrol. This has prompted the Biden administration to ask Canada to consider reinstating the visa requirement.
The surge in refugee applications from Mexico has also created a severe backlog in the refugee processing system, leading to delays for those escaping life-threatening situations.
Given the gravity of the situation, Trudeau’s Liberal government is considering all options, including the reinstatement of the visa requirement.
Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre has called for the government to reinstate the visa requirement for Mexican nationals visiting Canada.
My question to you this week: Do you support reinstating the requirement for Mexican nationals to have a visa to visit Canada? Why or why not?
I can be reached at Dan.Albas@parl.gc.ca or call toll-free 1-800-667-8711