You’ve probably heard about the new visa requirement for Mexicans (and Czechs) that want to visit Canada. According to the Immigration Minister, Jason Kenney, Mexicans now require a visa due to the abuse of the refugee claims system by some of us.
For a while I’ve heard stories about these supposed refugees and the immigration advisers that help them, and I have no sympathy for them. But imposing a visa on all Mexicans to address this issue is absurd (it will reduce the number of false refugee claims simply by greatly reducing the number of visitors to the country). There are other, simpler, solutions to the problem that do not involve this sort of imposition. Michelle Collins, at the Embassy magazine, has a good analysis on why this is a bad decision for all the parties involved.
I’m upset about this, not just because this is a significant hurdle for the families and friends of the Mexican community here in Canada, myself included, but because of the way it was executed: the requirement came on an extremely short notice, with a ridiculous grace period of 48 hours, catching the Canadian Embassy in Mexico unprepared to deal with the huge number of visa applications that fell upon it from all the people that had already made plans to visit Canada and causing many families and business people to cancel their travel plans. The new visa is more expensive, and its required paperwork more intrusive, than any other nations’ visa processes I’ve ever needed to go through, including the United States.
So what can we do about this? Val and I redacted a letter that you can send to your MP. If you don’t know who is your MP you can find out here. If you’re a Mexican living in Canada, a Mexican-Canadian, or a Canadian that is at all bothered by this decision, please help us out —all you need to do is print the letter with your MP’s name (editing anything you wish to, of course), and mail it in. Or at least send the letter and our request to your friends. It’s just a few minutes of your time, but it might make a difference for us.