(This column originally appeared in the Toronto Sun)
Canada is once again dealing with a surge in asylum claims from Mexico, according to new data exclusive to the Sun.
In January 2017, Canada experienced a 700% rise in asylum claims from Mexico compared to the number of claims made in January 2016.
February 2017 saw an increase of 2,500% from February of the previous year, according to a new report by the True North Initiative based on data from the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lifted the visa requirement for Mexican travellers in December 2016, against the wishes of some immigration and border security experts, and in turn, hundreds of Mexicans are now taking advantage of Canada’s generous asylum program.
During the first two months of 2017 Canada has received 156 asylum claims from Mexican nationals, compared to the 15 claims made in the first two months of 2016, an increase of over 1000%.
As with those arriving at our border on foot, any foreign national in Canada can ask for asylum and apply to be a refugee. The person must demonstrate to a Canadian judge that they meet the legal definition of a refugee – that they face a well-founded fear of persecution and that their home country has failed to provide safety and protection.
In the meantime, these applicants are given full access to Canada’s generous social safety net, including the controversial Interim Federal Health Program – which offers services above and beyond what Canadian taxpayers receive.
But Mexican asylum seekers typically fail to meet Canada’s standard of a refugee.
Prior to the 2009 decision to impose a visa on Mexican travellers, Canada received nearly 10,000 Mexican asylum seekers in 2008.
Only about 10% of those applications were eventually accepted and given refugee status in Canada.
The remaining 90% of cases were either abandoned by the claimant or rejected by a Canadian immigration judge. These bogus claimants cost Canadian taxpayers hundreds of millions annually, through social welfare programs, legal aid, court costs and deportation services. The low acceptance rate for Mexican asylum seekers is due to the fact that, while Mexico is a dangerous country, simply coming from a dangerous place is not enough to qualify for asylum in Canada.
A person must face direct persecution, and most Mexicans are not persecuted according to legal definitions.
Trudeau’s decision to lift the visa requirement allows any Mexican to arrive in Canada without prior background screening or a guarantee the person plans to leave.
The increase in refugee applications from Mexico was expected, but a 2,500% surge in claimants is unprecedented.
And there is reason to believe this is just the beginning.
A recent Reuters report included...(READ MORE)