Canada Immigration Minister to announce changes in visa rules for visitors from Mexico

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Canada Immigration Minister to announce changes in visa rules for visitors from Mexico

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Canada’s government is reimposing some visa requirements on Mexican nationals visiting Canada, an official familiar with the matter told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

Canada Immigration Minister to announce changes in visa rules for visitors from Mexico (File Photo)
Canada Immigration Minister to announce changes in visa rules for visitors from Mexico (File Photo)

Quebec‘s premier has been urging the federal government to slow the influx of refugees which he says has been straining resources.

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The official spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak ahead of the Thursday announcement. The official said the new rules will take effect late Thursday and they won’t mean a complete return to pre-2016 rules. Canada’s immigration minister is expected to announce details.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government lifted the visa requirement for Mexican visitors in late 2016, removing a major irritant in relations between the two countries.

But Canadian Immigration Minister Mac Miller has said asylum claims from Mexico have shot up since Canada lifted the visa restriction in 2016. Canada getting rid of visa free travel from Mexico is also expected to reduce the number of illegal crossings of Mexicans into the U.S. from Canada.

In 2023, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board had 17,490 claims from Mexico, making up 19% of claims referred that year. A year prior, the number was 7,483 making up 12% of claims.

Previously, refugee service providers in Montreal have said that Mexican families are fleeing violence, insecurity and a lack of jobs in Mexico.

Canada only grants asylum to people it believes cannot safely live in any part of their home country because officials are unable or unwilling to provide those conditions.

During his daily press briefing Wednesday morning, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador suggested Canada was going to announce actions when he took a reporter’s question about potential U.S. tariffs on Mexican steel exports and launched into a rambling complaint about a lack of respect coming from Mexico’s North American neighbors.

The president said that conservative forces in Mexico had been lobbying in the United States and Canada for actions that would reflect poorly on his administration. He mentioned U.S. complaints about fentanyl production in Mexico and assertions by both the U.S. and Canada that Mexico was not doing its part to control immigration flows.

“The immigration issue, it’s Mexico’s fault,” López Obrador mocked. “’We’re going to build a wall and that’s how we’ll solve the problem. We’re going to militarize the border and that’s how we’ll solve the problem.’”

“And now Canada is doing the same, they’re wanting to take measures against Mexico; we really regret it,” López Obrador said. “They’re negotiating to reach an agreement, that we can control the migration flows to Canada, as we always have. And we have acted generously toward them, with the administration of Prime Minister Trudeau, but they were already at the point of imposing unilateral measures, right now, when there are elections in Mexico.”

López Obrador also raised the possibility that he would not attend the North American Leaders’ Summit, scheduled for April in Quebec. “If there isn’t respectful treatment, I don’t participate,” he said.

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