September 1, 2017 – Deportation of Mexicans has risen sharply since Canada’s move to withdraw a visa restriction on travellers from America’s southern neighbour.
Figures show 66 per cent more Mexicans have been deported so far in 2017 compared to the total figure for 2016.
Canada’s visa requirement for Mexican nationals was withdrawn as of December 1, 2016, allowing travellers by air to enter the country with only an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA).
Source: Government of Canada
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, immigration lawyer 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.”
Overall, deportations from Canada are also rising in 2017. More than 5,500 migrants have been deported so far this year, against nearly 7,400 in the whole of 2016.
Canada is having to cope with a stream of asylum seekers crossing the border into Quebec to escape the expected Trump crackdown. Many of those crossing the border into Quebec are Haitian nationals fearing deportation from the U.S. Deportation of Haitians has risen significantly, with nearly 500 sent home so far in 2017 compared to 100 for the whole of 2016.
Donald Trump has indicated he will lift a ban on deportations to Haiti put in place following the devastating 2010 earthquake. Canada lifted its own ban in 2016.
Official numbers show 3,800 asylum seekers crossed the border in the first two weeks of August, compared with 3,000 in July and 781 in June. The number for January was 245, showing how the flow has developed into a wave during the summer months.
Although the numbers show a marked increase, they are low when compared to the migrant crisis facing Europe. Italy received nearly 11,500 asylum seekers in July, down from more than 23,500 in June. Meanwhile, Germany has 250,000 asylum cases pending compared to 21,000 in Canada. Spain and its territories have received nearly 13,000 asylum seekers so far in 2017.
Canada’s 13 consulates across the U.S. have been mobilised to disseminate this information to anyone looking to come here. Asylum seekers, whatever their nationality, will be arrested, face security screening and then a hearing, as per the Canada immigration system. Many will not be given refugee status, and face being deported to their home countries.
The latest government shelter for the newcomers will be opened in Cornwall, Ontario, near the Quebec border. This follows other temporary centres at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, plus an old hospital and a school. A makeshift border camp has also been set up by the Canadian army to act as an initial processing centre.
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