Borderland Beat~Mexican Criminals Choosing to Enter U.S. from Canada
Saturday, July 8, 2017
by Chivis for Borderland Beat with material from Reuters and Global News Mexican criminals, cartels, economic migrants, now diverting from U.S. entry into Canada. New passage is due to President Donald Trump’s rigid stance on illegal U.S. entry, in conjunction with Canadian visa requirement lift with Mexico.
Before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that visitors from Mexico would no longer need visas to enter Canada, border officials predicted the decision would make it easier for criminals to enter the country, newly released documents show.
In intelligence reports, officials wrote that associates of Mexican crime groups such as the ultraviolent Sinaloa cartel were already turning up in Canada and said lifting the visa requirement would “facilitate travel to Canada by Mexicans with criminal records.”
Just 0.25 per cent of the 156,000 Mexican nationals who entered Canada between 2012 and 2015 were implicated in crime, but the reports said 29 were linked to organized criminal groups, another eight had “possible links” and “likely more” had not been identified.
“These individuals were drug smugglers, human smugglers, recruiters, money launderers and foot soldiers,” the Canada Border Services Agency’s Intelligence Section wrote in a report dated April 2016, two months before Trudeau announced the visa exemption.”
Since the government dropped the visa requirement on Dec. 1, 2016, the number of Mexican citizens the CBSA has reported for criminality and security has indeed increased, according to figures released by the agency this week.
During the 2015 federal election campaign, Trudeau promised that if he was elected Mexicans would no longer need visas to visit Canada. Within days of taking office, he told Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto he would follow through.
“Lifting the visa requirement will deepen ties between Canada and Mexico and will increase the flow of travelers, ideas, and businesses between both countries,” Trudeau said in his announcement. Mexicans still need visas to work and study in Canada.
Internal documents obtained by Global News under the Access to Information Act show the prime minister made the decision despite intelligence reporting that anticipated the likely result would be an increased criminal presence among visitors.
The intelligence reports said more than 300 criminals with Mexican citizenship had been identified by the CBSA from 2012 to 2015 and reported as inadmissible — the process that bars foreign citizens from entering Canada and can lead to their deportation.
“Should the visa requirement on Mexican nationals be lifted, the number of Mexican nationals travelling to Canada is expected to rise, which will increase the number of potentially inadmissible individuals,” according to one of the reports.
Another report said a study conducted the year before the visa requirement was put in place had identified abuse of Canada’s refugee program by Mexican migrants, the use of fraudulent Mexican passports by crime groups and the presence of criminals among Mexican travelers.
“These same problems may resurface once the visa requirement is lifted,” it said.
The crime groups included the Sinaloa organization of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, as well as the La Familia Michoacana, Jalisco New Generation and Los Zetas cartels. In addition, some were working for Latin American street gangs and theft rings, according to the reports.
By 2017 first quarter, illegal entries into Canada had tripled, already topping 2016 totals.
Per the new rules, rather than a visa, under Trudeau's administration, Mexicans are now only required to have a so-called Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) which can be purchased online for CAD $7.
Flight bookings from Mexico to Canada also swelled 90 percent in January and February versus the same period in 2016, according to the travel analysis company ForwardKeys, which reviews all major travel agency bookings. It is unclear what percentage of those bookings were made by people looking to work illegally in Canada.
Marcela Gonzalez's telephone and Facebook page may be a good indicator. The immigration paralegal in Toronto used to receive four calls a month from Mexicans in Canada, before Trump's election and the new visa-free travel.
Now she says she gets "four in less than 10 minutes" from people wanting to know how to get work permits and permanent residency.
Once in Canada, undocumented migrants will discover no social services awaiting them. Not even in cases of life threatening health circumstances