Mexico and seven new countries added to “Safe” Countries List

The Canadian Government has added eight new countries to the “safe” countries list that was established last year as a part of the new refugee laws in Canada. Citizenship Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney

As a part of the safe countries list, which also includes countries like Slovenia, Belgium, Austria, the Czech Republic, France and Hungary among many others, citizens from these countries will not be able to appeal a rejected refugee claim, and will have less time to prepare before their hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board.

They will also not be eligible to receive any emergency health care. Countries that have been added to the list most recently include Mexico, Iceland, Israel and Japan.

Safe countries list widely criticized by human rights groups

Countries end up on the safe countries list only because there is a high number of claims from these countries that are rejected, leading the government to believe the majority of refugees from these countries are not at risk and are just abusing the system.

However, the president of the Canadian Council for Refugees told the Toronto Star that, “In recent years, Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board has clearly recognized that Mexico is not safe for some of its citizens. It will now be more difficult for people like these to find protection in Canada.”

Currently, Canada has a travel advisory online for the northern states of Mexico due to extreme levels of violence and warns Canadians to avoid non-essential travel to these parts of Mexico.

20% of Mexican Refugees accepted

Approximately 80% of refugee claims from Mexico are rejected annually in Canada, but 20% are accepted and meet the definition of a refugee to Canada. In addition, every situation is different and the government should determine whether someone is a legitimate refugee on a case-by-case basis – not by which country they come from.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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