Ottawa poised to restore visa requirements for Mexicans, Quebec says |


The Quebec government says it has been told by Ottawa that the federal government plans to bring back visa requirements for Mexican nationals, something Premier Francois Legault has been pushing for to curb the rising number of asylum seekers to the province.

When asked by Global News if the Quebec government has been informed that the federal government is reintroducing the visa requirement, a spokesperson for the province’s ministry of immigration responded: “Yes, we were informed.”

The news was first reported by Radio Canada.

In a statement to Global News, spokesperson for Quebec’s ministry of immigration, Maude Méthot-Faniel, said in French this is an important step forward, but will not solve everything.

She added Quebec takes in half of all asylum seekers in Canada and of these, 25 per cent are Mexican nationals.

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A spokesperson for federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller did not respond when asked about visa reintroductions when asked Wednesday night. Neither did the Prime Minister’s Office.

“We cannot comment yet on the matter,” said Alfonso Vera Sánchez, press attaché with the Mexican embassy in Canada in an email to Global News.

Click to play video: 'Quebec premier warns of ‘breaking point’ amid influx of asylum seekers, seeks help from Ottawa'

Quebec premier warns of ‘breaking point’ amid influx of asylum seekers, seeks help from Ottawa

The Liberals lifted the visa requirement in 2016, making it easier for people from Mexico to make an asylum claim in Canada.

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Data from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada shows the number of asylum claims from Mexico increased 2,000 per cent since the Liberals were elected, from 110 in 2015 to 25,236 in 2023 — the highest number of claims from any country last year. The backlog of claims from Mexico currently sits at over 28,000, according to the department.

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In the last year alone, there were 46 per cent more asylum claims from Mexican nationals compared to 2022.

Legault cited the rise in Mexican claimants in a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last month, warning that his province’s services for refugees are reaching a “breaking point.”

The Conservatives have urged the Liberals to reinstate the visa requirement for Mexicans, arguing the change has led to fraud, abuse and strain on the asylum system.

Click to play video: 'Michelle Rempel asks Liberals to reinstate Mexico visa requirement'

Michelle Rempel asks Liberals to reinstate Mexico visa requirement

The Biden administration has also warned that human traffickers linked to Mexican cartels may be exploiting Canada’s visa-free regime in order to get people into the U.S., circumventing the intense focus on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Mexico’s foreign ministry has maintained that keeping the requirements lifted was important to preserve the economic benefits of easier travel between Canada and Mexico.

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Immigration Minister Marc Miller said last month that the government has been in talks with Mexico on the issue.

But in a press conference Wednesday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said Canada was on the verge of applying “unilateral measures” on Mexico to control immigration, on which he said his administration has always cooperated.

He threatened to skip the upcoming North American Leaders or “Three Amigos” summit, set to take place in Canada later this year, if he feels Mexico isn’t getting “respectful treatment” on immigration and other issues from Canada and the U.S.

— with files from the Canadian Press

&copy 2024 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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