Facing a surge in illegal crossings at the Canada-United States border, American officials are pressing Canada to impose visa requirements on Mexican visitors.

According to the Wall Street Journal, U.S. officials have been expressing concerns to Canada over refugee and asylum seekers jumping the Canadian border as a gateway into the country, circumventing the United States’ stricter southwestern border.

The escalating situation has drawn the attention of presidential candidates, with Nikki Haley advocating for heightened scrutiny of the northern crossing during a recent visit to New Hampshire. 

Former Republican contender Vivek Ramaswamy has also called for a border wall with Canada. 

The influx of migrants intercepted at the Canada-U.S. border has prompted Washington to ramp up pressure to mandate Mexican visitors to acquire visas but the Liberal government in Ottawa has yet to show any signs it would re-impose a visa requirement.

The lifting of traditional visa requirements on Dec. 1, 2016, enabled Mexican citizens to opt for a $7 Electronic Travel Authorization, or eTA, a process taking only minutes to complete, to gain entry into Canada.

Confirming ongoing discussions, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas stated that the U.S. has been engaging with Canadian authorities on this matter. However, Canada remains cautious about revealing any new restrictions prematurely, fearing a potential surge of border traffic that border officers are ill-equipped to handle.

The Swanton Sector, a 295-mile expanse dividing New York, New Hampshire, and Vermont from Quebec and Ontario, has witnessed a rise in illegal crossings from the north. This area, lacking substantial fencing and with sparse Border Patrol staffing, facilitates unauthorized entries through snow-covered fields, perilous passages across the St. Lawrence River, or traversing dense forests and wetlands.

Canada itself has experienced a surge in Mexican asylum seekers, with numbers more than doubling in the past year. Despite this, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to lift the visa requirement for Mexican visitors in 2016, aiming to bolster ties with a significant trade partner, remains unchanged. Presently, Mexicans can secure electronic travel authorization by completing an online application for around $5.

As both nations grapple with immigration complexities, discussions persist between Canadian and Mexican officials to devise strategies that mitigate the flow of asylum seekers while addressing security apprehensions and humanitarian responsibilities.

As reported by True North in 2022, the Trudeau government remained firm on its 2016 decision, maintaining the exemption of visa requirements for Mexican citizens. The stance persists even as major cartels, such as Mexico’s Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation, have taken a dominant role in fentanyl trafficking, surpassing traditional suppliers like China.