Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has acknowledged the troubling reality that Mexican cartels are exploiting Canada’s refugee and asylum system.

“Across the country, particularly Ontario, we’ve seen a rise in asylum seekers even as we managed to close Roxon road by renegotiating the Safe Third Country Agreement, the United States, we’re seeing more people arrive in through airports,” said Trudeau. 

“We’re in conversations with Mexico about making sure that the number of asylum seekers, some of them, supported by organized crime in Mexico, to come up to Canada are reduced.”

Despite this revelation, Trudeau’s government remains steadfast in its controversial decision to waive visa requirements for Mexican citizens, a move that critics argue has exacerbated the issue.

As reported by True North in 2022, the Trudeau government is standing by its decision to no longer require a visa for Mexican citizens even as major cartels have come to abuse the system and dominate the fentanyl trafficking trade. 

An investigation by Wall Street Journal detailed how Mexico’s Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels have overtaken traditional drug suppliers such China in smuggling fentanyl across North America. 

As it stands, Canada no longer requires people travelling from Mexico to acquire a traditional visa to enter the country, meaning people can land at Canadian airports as tourists and claim asylum at the immigration checkpoint.

Trudeau lifted the requirements on Dec. 1, 2016, allowing Mexican citizens to only file a $7 Electronic Travel Authorization, which only takes minutes to complete to be granted entry into Canada. 

When confronted with the cartel’s growing influence on peddling toxic drugs throughout North America, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada told True North that while fighting organized crime was a top priority, the eTA requirement will remain in place. 

“The visa lift underscores the importance Canada places on its friendship with Mexico and the closer ties stemming from the removal of the visa requirement,” said IRCC spokesperson Jeffrey MacDonald in an emailed statement. 

“As part of the process leading to the lifting of the visa requirement, Canada worked closely with its Mexican partners to put in place measures to protect Canada against the risks posed by the arrival of bad faith travellers from Mexico. The Government of Canada carefully monitors any behavior that threatens the security of the country and takes appropriate measures to remedy the situation.”