Candice Malcolm: Trudeau’s Mexican visa change puts international interests first

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(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has finally followed through on a major election campaign pledge – a promise he made not to Canadians, but to Mexicans. As of this week, Mexican travelers are now permitted to enter Canada without a visa.

The decision to lift the visa requirement for Mexicans will surely win Trudeau favours with his buddy Enrique Peña Nieto, Mexico’s President. But what will it mean for Canadians?

According to a regulatory analysis done by the government of Canada, the decision will cost Canadian taxpayers $433.5 million over 10 years in increased law enforcement resources due to fake refugee claims.

Mexico struggles with basic law and order issues stemming from a hostile drug war that has persisted for over a decade. Without a visa requirement, anyone from Mexico will simply be able to show up on our Canadian doorstep without prior notice.

Thanks to Canada’s incredibly lenient – if at times naïve – refugee policy, anyone on Canadian soil can claim to be a refugee and ask Canada for asylum.

This creates a perverse incentive for people from around the world, including criminals, fraudsters, human smugglers and the odd terrorist, to buy a one-way ticket to Canada to take advantage of our generosity.

Visa requirements for countries with a track record of nefarious activities helps Canadian officials screen visitors to ensure they do not have a criminal background, history with organized crime networks or terrorist affiliates, and to ensure they plan to eventually leave Canada.

In 2008, prior to the visa requirement, nearly 10,000 Mexicans claimed to be refugees and asked for asylum in Canada. Because of Canada’s generous social programs, these applicants gained immediate access to healthcare, education, housing and monthly welfare cheques.

Of those 10,000 asylum-seekers, only about 10% were found to be bona fide refugees according to Canadian law and United Nations definitions. The other 90% were rejected or abandoned, requiring deportations courtesy of the Canadian taxpayer.

Not only was this an expensive undertaking, it also caused significant national security concerns. Mexico has a bad reputation for being a launching pad for criminal networks and terrorist organizations seeking to gain stealth entry into North America.

In 2009, the Harper government slapped a visa requirement on Mexican visitors, and the problem quickly went away. By 2013, there were only 84 refugee claims from Mexican nationals, the majority of which were accepted as legitimate refugees.

And yet, without providing a coherent explanation as to why Canada should change course, Trudeau has cancelled a visa policy that has served Canada well. Instead, Trudeau’s decision will cost taxpayers an additional $433.5 million, while also undermining national security and blurring our borders.

Trudeau has developed a penchant for putting international interests ahead of the best interests of Canadians.

In recent weeks, he’s visited...(READ MORE)