OTTAWA — Groups that defend the rights of refugees say Canada is ignoring the terrifying security situation that has thousands of Mexicans fleeing to Canada.


The Canada Border Services Agency recently linked the rise in refugees claims from Mexico to the bloody drug-cartel wars in that country.


More than 8,000 Mexicans claimed refugee status in Canada last year, up from 7,028 the year before.


But this week Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said the low acceptance rate for Mexicans suggests they are abusing the system.


Amnesty International and a major refugee help centre in Toronto say Kenney is ill-informed.

They say the Mexican government has failed to protect its citizens from violence, and the Canadian government needs to review how it treats claims from that country.

More than 8,000 people have been killed in Mexico over the past year as the government cracked down on the powerful drug cartels.