Mexican refugee requests skyrocket
Middle class wants to escape drug cartels, corrupt authorities
Aug 05, 2007 04:30 AM
Manuel Lanveros could have come to Canada through normal immigration channels as a skilled immigrant.
Instead, the Mexican citizen simply hopped on a plane and asked for refugee asylum here because, he says, he couldn't afford to risk his life on the two-year wait.
An architect with 15 years of experience, Lanveros represents a new wave of Mexican refugees who contradict the desperate day-labourer stereotype: educated, upper-middle-class professionals who claim corrupt authorities are failing to protect them from drug cartels, abusive spouses or gay bashers.
Note - Canada's refugee system at one time only applied to those escaping political persecution. It has since been expanded to include sexual orientation and victims of spousal abuse, going further than what the U.N. considers a refugee. This exposes Canada to further abuse of our refugee system with bogus claims and in fact it has been found that many are trying to make a refugee claim based on sexual orientation and spousal abuse. Once these people are granted refugee status the chain migration starts and they start to import their families. It's a scam but no one in Ottawa seems to care.
According to the Immigration and Refugee Board, Mexican asylum claims have skyrocketed in a decade, from fewer than 1,000 a year to 5,000. For the past two years, Mexico has been Canada's top source country for refugee claims.
"My concern is we're going to be swarmed by Mexicans in the U.S. who don't have status there and can come to the border because they don't need a visa to come to Canada," says Rico-Martinez, himself a refugee from El Salvador. "We're starting to get calls from Mexicans in the States, five to six a week, hoping to file refugee (claims) in Canada. But we may not even know half of the Mexicans here who are without status, because they don't need visas to come."
Anticipating a continued influx, the refugee board is now treating Mexican cases as a top priority. Some cases are heard within six months, compared with the more typical 12 to 18 months.
Advocates argue that most Canadians view Mexico through the benign lens of a tourist – as a free, democratic country – and fail to recognize how corruption there can leave people vulnerable to crime. That blind spot, they say, is reflected in the high rates of rejection for Mexican refugee claims. "Our concern is whether Mexicans can get a fair hearing, when most people simply assume they are economic migrants," says Janet Dench, executive director of the Canadian Council for Refugees. "And we've seen our share of prejudice against the Mexicans."
Note - Mexico is still a relatively safe country to live. It is much safer than most South American nations. Mexico City even has its own Gay Pride celebrations laying to waste any claim of persecution based on sexual orientation.
The FCJ Refugee Centre's Rico-Martinez thinks it's only a matter of time before Canada imposes visa requirements on Mexicans, as it did on Zimbabweans and Argentines when it felt a need to curb the inflow of refugees.
Read it all here.
The sooner Canada slaps Mexicans with visa requirements the better. And while Canada is at it, Canada should do the same for many other countries as well. The article notes, "Like Americans, Mexicans don’t need visas to visit. As such, they’re exempt from Canada’s bilateral Safe Third Country Agreement with the United States, which stipulates that asylum seekers must file refugee claims in the first country they enter." Mexican refugees have a 28% acceptance rate and that is too high. We shouldn't even be entertaining Mexican refugee claims. But we do entertain refugee claims from Americans and Portuguese so why not Mexicans?
Yes, Mexico is corrupt; it has a drug cartel problem. It does have spousal abusers and gay bashers but so does Canada. Canada has every legal right to send back every Mexican refugee claim because internal flight is open to them. Mexico City is large enough to get lost in. It has a large gay community there. If the character of Mexican society is enough to make a refugee claim then, by way of legal precedence, Canada cannot stop the claims of hundreds of millions of other people who live in countries that are in worse shape.
Canada should not even accept one person from Mexico as a refugee because they are not real refugees but are in fact economic migrants. As the Toronto Star article illustrates Mexican refugees are increasingly of the middle class but such is the case with almost all refugees to Canada. It is the mobile upper and middle classes of the developing world that are making refugee claims. The poor, those who most need Canada's help, cannot afford it.