Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenny and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews re-introduced the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act, which is aimed to crack down on human smugglers who seek to abuse Canada’s immigration system.
Ottawa - Jun. 27, 2011 - Last August a rusty, over-crowded ship carrying 492 Sri Lankan refugee claimants turned up in Canadian waters off the coast of British Columbia. Most of those on board paid or promised to pay up to $50,000 to criminal human smugglers for the opportunity to get to our country. They were willing to risk their lives because they knew that if they made it to Canada they would probably qualify as refugees under our very generous refugee laws.
This is not the first time unscrupulous criminals have taken advantage of Canada's humanitarian approach to immigration. As Canadians we have always been proud of our welcoming attitude toward new arrivals to our country. A few decades ago Canadians from coast to coast to coast opened their homes and their hearts to tens of thousands of refugees escaping the ravages of war and persecution in Vietnam. The vast majority of these refugees are now contributing members of our society and assets to the communities they live in.
The boat load of Sri Lankans that landed here last August arrived under very different circumstances. Most on board knowingly paid or agreed to pay huge sums of money to criminals to be illegally transported to Canada. They knew what they were doing was illegal. It is not fair that people who entered Canada illegally should be ahead of those who are playing by the rules.
That is why Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenny and Public Safety Minister Vic Toews re-introduced the Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act, which is aimed to crack down on human smugglers who seek to abuse Canada’s immigration system. This legislation will, ensure law enforcement have the tools they need to crack down on human smugglers, help ensure the safety and security of Canadian communities, and deter illegal migrants from using human smugglers to come to Canada.
This act will also make it mandatory for CBSA officers to detain people arriving in such groups for up to one year. Even if a claimant is found to be a legitimate refugee they will have to wait for five years to obtain permanent residency. They will also be prevented from sponsoring family members for the same period of time. The whole idea of this legislation is to try and discourage those who try to get into Canada illegally. This legislation is meant to stop similar human exploits from ever beginning in the country of origin. By increasing the penalties for human smugglers and reducing the incentive for those who use them, I feel this legislation will go a long way in reducing the horrible crime of human smuggling.
Member of Parliament
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