Mexico Tops In Refugee Bids (The Calgary Sun)

February 13, 2006: Mexico Tops In Refugee Bids (The Calgary Sun)

Mon, February 13, 2006

Mexico tops in refugee bids

Free-trade partner Mexico was last year the largest supplier of refugees to Canada with more than 3,500 claimants coming here, say immigration officials.

For the first time, Mexico has surpassed China, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in sending claimants here, pushing that country to No. 1 of a Top 10 list of refugee-producing nations, according to figures released by the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).

The IRB said 2,290 of the asylum seekers had their cases rejected and 700 never bothered to show up for hearings. Mexicans do not require a visa to travel to Canada.

Immigration officers and police said they're concerned by the high rate of claimants who go underground and are probing two rings who are using Canada as a staging zone to smuggle Mexicans into the U.S., due to increased patrols and a wall being constructed along the U.S.-Mexico border.