September 27, 2017 – The number of Mexicans detained by Canada border agents is the highest it has been in 10 years, the most recent data shows.
The Canada Border Services Agency says 2,391 Mexicans were detained between January and the first week of September 2017, compared to just 411 detentions in the whole of 2016.
The CBSA refused to speculate on the reason for the increase, but Canada lifted its visa requirement for Mexican travellers as of December 1, 2017. Meanwhile, Donald Trump is enacting an immigration crackdown in the U.S., which could be forcing more Mexicans to look north of the border.
Overall detentions of foreign nationals have also risen, to an average of more than 1,000 a month in 2017 from under 880 in 2016.
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Deportation of Mexicans has also risen sharply since Canada’s move to withdraw the visa restriction.
Figures show 66 per cent more Mexicans have been deported so far in 2017 compared to the total figure for 2016.
Canada has threatened to re-impose the visa restriction if it receives too many asylum claims, although it has not publicised any limit. It has been reported that 3,000 claims in 2017 would see the policy reviewed.
The increase will be closely watched, although numbers remain significantly fewer than 2009, when the previous Conservative government imposed the visa restriction because more than 9,500 asylum claims were made by Mexicans.
Government analysis says lifting the visa requirement will cost $433.5 million over the next decade, partly offset by an expected $171.6 million boost to the economy through increased tourism, investment and trade.
Immigration.ca Managing Partner Colin Singer said earlier in the year that he expected the number of asylum claims at the Canadian border from Mexicans to carry on increasing.
Speaking to the Daily Beast, Singer raised concerns that numbers like 2009 could return after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lifted the requirement against official advice.
“We’re likely to go down the same path as before, which could create a problem for the current government,” Singer said. “That’s my hunch for what we’ll see once we have the numbers in hand.”
Foreigners are detained at the Canadian border if they are a flight risk once in the country, because of problems establishing identity, or if they are deemed a danger to the public.
“Red flags may come up, which may be indicative of whether or not they plan to remain in the country past authorization,” said immigration lawyer Singer.
“They may be given a voluntary departure or detained if unwilling to do so and they are deemed a flight risk or if it’s believed they may abscond and go underground.”
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