Canadian officials preparing for potential flood of Mexican migrants after Trump wins presidency
Tourist visa will no longer be required for Mexican visitors as of Dec. 1
By Kathleen Harris, CBC News Posted: Nov 10, 2016 8:53 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 10, 2016 8:53 PM ET
Sources confirm high level meetings took place this week with officials at Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and in other departments.
The news comes as Canada prepares to loosen rules for Mexicans to enter the country by lifting a visa requirement on Dec. 1. That restriction has been in place since 2009.
Talks on a plan to cope with a possible spike in asylum-seekers have been ongoing for some time, but were accelerated this week after Trump's surprise win.
Asylum claims way down
The number of Mexican claims referred to the Immigration and Refugee Board was climbing dramatically until it peaked at 9,511 in 2009. After the visa requirement was imposed, it dropped to 1,349, then continued to shrink to only 120 in 2015. Between January and June this year, there were only 60 cases, according to the most recent figures available.
Government officials had suggested the visa requirement could be reinstated if the number of asylum claims from Mexico reaches 3,500 in any given year. But a news release announcing the policy did not mention any conditions attached to the change.
Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Richard Kurland called that cap a "close the barn door after the horse has bolted" policy. He said the government should carefully track weekly intake and "flip the switch" if it exceeds, for example, 100 cases.
"It is foolish to know claims will exceed 3,500 in a year, and do nothing during the year," he said. "We have the technology to be more nimble."