Mexicans Swamp Canadian Refuge System

Mexicans swamp Canadian refugee system

OTTAWA, Oct. 20 (UPI) — Canada's refugee board is inundated with a record number of Mexican claimants seeking safety from drug wars and corrupt police, officials in Ottawa said.

The Globe and Mail newspaper reported there are 9,070 Mexican refugee claimants waiting to have their cases heard. Immigration and Refugee Board officials say that's the largest number from one country since the board was formed in 1989.

Since 2004, Mexico has been Canada's top source country for refugee claims, the Globe said. However, while Mexicans make up one-third of all refugee claimants, their acceptance rate is 11 percent, compared with an overall acceptance rate of 34 percent for other ethnicities.

Toronto immigration lawyer Doug Lehrer told the newspaper many Mexican refugee claimants are at wits' end because of the violence and corruption in their country.

“Mexican authorities are completely overwhelmed and can't offer ordinary people a reasonable level of protection,” he said.

The report said that in the last year an estimated 3,000 Mexicans have been killed by drug cartels battling for turf or seeking revenge for police actions. Increasingly, civilians have been targeted in bombing attacks, the newspaper said.