Canada bows to pressure to impose visas for some Mexican travelers

Canada bows to pressure to impose visas for some Mexican travelers

US concerned with Mexicans illegally crossing into country from Canada

By Barry Ellsworth

TRENTON, Canada (AA) - The federal government reintroduced visas Thursday for some Mexicans entering Canada to cut down on skyrocketing asylum claims.

The change takes effect Thursday at 11.30 ET, Immigration Minister Marc Miller said at a news conference.

More than 25,000 Mexicans applied for asylum in Canada in 2023, and there is a logjam of 28,000 claims with the Immigration Department.

“We need an effective visa system,” he said. “A change was needed.”​​​​​​​

Washington was pressuring Ottawa to reimpose the visa requirement that was lifted in 2016 because high numbers of Mexican nationals were entering Canada legally and then crossing into the US illegally.

While Mexicans have not needed a visa to enter Canada since 2016, they do need one to enter the US.

Quebec was also concerned with asylum numbers that were straining the finances of the provinces, Quebec Premier Francois Legault said in a recent letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Legault said the cost of the refugees has exceeded CAN$1 billion (US$740 million).

“Asylum seekers have trouble finding a place to live, which contributes to accentuating the housing crisis,” the premier said in the letter. “Many end up in homeless shelters, which are overflowing.”

But if Mexicans have a US non-immigration visa, they can get travel authorization for Canada. The same goes for those with a Canadian visa obtained within the past 10 years and are traveling by air with a Mexican passport.

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