Canada weighing extra border measures for asylum seekers from Mexico, minister says


Canada is considering various steps to stop Mexican nationals from flying into the country to seek asylum, a senior official said on Sunday, after Quebec’s premier said earlier this week that more refugees were coming by plane because of the absence of visa requirements for Mexican travelers.

Talking to the Canadian Broadcasting Corp, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc said he and the Immigration Minister Marc Miller were thinking about visas and other steps.

The two ministers are looking for “the right way to make sure that people who came from Mexico came for the right reasons and that this doesn’t become a kind of a back door to enter Canada,” LeBlanc said.

“We’re considering various steps that would, in fact, enable us to do what’s needed to make sure that these flights directly from Mexico don’t become a kind of a roundabout way to enter Canada and to seek asylum,” he added.

In a letter last week, Quebec Premier Francois Legault asked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to curb the influx of refugees into the province and to reimburse it for costs, saying Quebec’s services were near a “breaking point” due to the increasing number.

“Mexican nationals make up a growing share of the asylum seekers arriving in Quebec, the possibility of entering Canada from Mexico without a visa certainly accounts for part of the flow of asylum seekers,” Legault wrote in the letter.

Ottawa is facing pressure for its immigration policies because they are accused of worsening a housing shortage, and because some services provided by the provinces, like education and healthcare, are having trouble keeping up with population growth.

Source: Reuters