News Canada

Number of violent criminals coming to Canada from Mexico increasing: Report

Postmedia Network

A Canadian Border Services Agency officer's shoulder flash is shown at the Calgary Courts Centre on April 22, 2017. (Jim Wells/Postmedia Network)

A Canadian Border Services Agency officer's shoulder flash is shown at the Calgary Courts Centre on April 22, 2017. (Jim Wells/Postmedia Network)

The Liberal government's decision to remove the visa needed for visitors to Canada from Mexico is making it easier for criminals to enter the country.

According to figures from the Canada Border Services Agency obtained by Global News, the number of Mexican citizens with a criminal background or security risk increased since Justin Trudeau relaxed the visa requirement on Dec. 1, 2016.

In the first six months of this year, 65 Mexicans involved in "serious" crimes were identified, more than the 53 in 2016 and 28 the year before.

In addition, 15 Mexicans were tagged for national security reasons, more than the last two years combined.

"These individuals were drug smugglers, human smugglers, recruiters, money launderers and foot soldiers," the CBSA wrote in an intelligence report dated April 2016, two months before the visa exemption was announced.

Officials also wrote that associates of various drug cartels and theft rings were already entering Canada and lifting the visa requirement would "facilitate travel to Canada by Mexicans with criminal records."

Trudeau made a 2015 federal election campaign promise to lift the visa requirement for people visiting from Mexico to "deepen ties" between the two countries.

Visas are still required for Mexicans to work and study in Canada.