1705736188 Exploding increase in the number of Mexican asylum seekers in

Exploding increase in the number of Mexican asylum seekers in Canada –

The number of Mexican asylum seekers has exploded in Canada over the past two years, a phenomenon that can be explained both by the increase in violence in that country and the slowness of the federal bureaucracy that allows them to work here.

• Also read: Record year for asylum applications in Quebec despite Roxham Road closure

In 2023, as many as 22,405 Mexican nationals submitted asylum claims to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, a high in at least nine years (see chart below). A total of 144,035 inquiries were recorded from all countries last year.

Violence is nothing new in Mexico, as shown in this 2010 image of Mexican federal police being greeted by a cartel in the city of Juárez.  On the other hand, violent crime seems to be increasing there.

Asylum seekers from the North American country have been particularly numerous since 2022 and have benefited from an exemption from the visa requirement to enter Canadian soil since 2016.

As a result, they have been arriving mainly by plane for several years and have not had to take the Roxham Road like many other migrants.

A river “never seen before” in Montreal

Quebec Prime Minister François Legault expressed concern about the influx of Mexicans in a letter sent to his Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on Thursday.

The Montreal-based support center for Latin American families has seen an “unprecedented” migration of Mexicans to the metropolis since last year.

“All organizations and institutions referred them to us because of the language,” says Director General Cecilia Escamilla, explaining that her organization has become one of the main reception centers for these migrants.

“We were overwhelmed, overwhelmed, overwhelmed, writ large!” “We were unprepared and didn’t have the resources,” she continues. We had to hire volunteers. Our speakers didn't have time for everyone. »

Security or work?

Adèle Garnier, a professor at the Department of Geography at the University of Laval, believes there are “multiple motives” behind the numbers.

On the one hand, in her opinion, Mexico has been weakened by the pandemic.

“We know there are issues with drug cartels that threaten the safety of a certain number of people. »

But a certain proportion of these people would come here because, unlike tourist status, an asylum application, which can take years to process, offers them temporary access to the Canadian labor market.

“People have to come who know that it will take a long time to process their request, and they will work during that time,” explains Professor Garnier.

Especially since only 44% of Mexican asylum seekers had their applications approved in 2022, compared to an average of 70% for all countries, according to data from the Refugee Law Lab at York University in Toronto.

–In collaboration with Guillaume St-Pierre and Nora T.Lamontagne

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