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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Mexican refugee claimants : cheating the system? Abogado, Andrés

Abstract

Between the years 2008 and 2009, Mexican refugee claims accounted for 25% of the total amount of applications for asylum made in Canada. However, the rate of acceptance of this particular group went as low as 11% in 2008 and 9% in 2009. For the Canadian government, these numbers were an indicator of fraud on the part of Mexicans who just wanted to collect welfare benefits and immigrate as economic refugees. In 2009, in an attempt to decrease these numbers, the Canadian government imposed visa restrictions in order prevent Mexicans from getting into Canada without having a pre-screening process. In 2012, Canada added Mexico onto a list of countries considered safe, as a means of preventing them from appealing adverse decisions and to expedite their claims for asylum. These measures were criticized by Canadian refugee scholars and the press on the basis that the Canadian government was ignoring the reality of thousands of Mexicans who are in need of international protection. Nevertheless, despite all the attention and controversy about Mexican refugees, there has been no in-depth analysis of this issue from a legal perspective. Because a refugee determination requires the participation of the claimant and the adjudicator, the author felt it not fair to treat Mexicans as the sole source of the problem, while failing to question and examine the role played by the Canadian refugee decision makers in contributing to the high rates at which Mexican refugee claims are denied. In order to determine the degree of responsibility of the Canadian government in this situation, the author undertook a close examination of the Immigration and Refugee Board decisions that granted and denied refugee status to Mexicans. Their legal arguments are analyzed in order to determine if this administrative tribunal has been fairly applying the principles contained in the 1951 Refugee Convention and its interpretation by the Canadian courts. This thesis concludes with a general overview of the past and current practices of the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada and analyses the role that the Canadian government plays in the high rate of denial of Mexican refugee claims.

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Attribution 2.5 Canada

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