COLOMBO, SRI LANKA, Jan. 6, 2013 /CNW/ - Anyone relying on human
smugglers to try to get into Canada is just "throwing their life
savings away," Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said
"We are sending a strong message to those who are thinking of using the
services of criminal human smugglers to sneak into Canada: Don't do it.
They'll just take your money but leave you stranded," said Minister
Kenney. "Canada has a generous and open legal immigration system, but
those who try to get into Canada through the back door using human
smugglers will not succeed and are wasting their money trying."
Thanks to very alert policing and intelligence action, recent human
smuggling operations were shut down before they could leave port.
Other operations that planned to smuggle Sri Lankans to Canada from
Thailand and Indonesia have also been disrupted in the past two years.
To support ongoing efforts, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced $12
million in funding in March 2012 to help fight human smuggling,
including support for projects in Thailand and elsewhere in Southeast
Canadian law enforcement agencies continue to work with their
counterparts abroad to identify and prevent human smuggling operations
that are targeting Canada. Canada boosted its international efforts to
prevent human smuggling after the arrival of two smuggling ships in
2009 and 2010. Since then, no planned smuggling voyages have succeeded
in getting to Canada.
Under the new Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act, which became law in June 2012, law enforcement officials now have
better tools to prosecute individuals who organize, engage in, and
profit from human smuggling. The Act includes new mandatory minimum
penalties, up to a minimum of ten years imprisonment for those
convicted of human smuggling.
The Act also introduced mandatory detention of those individuals who
arrive as part of a designated human smuggling operation, so that we
can be sure we know who they are and that they do not pose a security
threat before they are released. And those who arrive as part of a
designated irregular arrival are now barred from applying for permanent
resident status for five years. This means that they will be unable to
sponsor family members to come to Canada during that period.
"We will continue to strengthen the integrity of Canada's generous
immigration system, which admits more immigrants per capita than any
other country in the world, for those who come to Canada lawfully,
including all legitimate refugees," said Minister Kenney. "We will
continue to work to make sure that human smugglers are put out of
Canada continues to have one of the most generous resettlement programs
in the world, welcoming approximately one in 10 refugees resettled
worldwide through its programs. By 2013, Canada will annually resettle
up to 14,500 refugees and other individuals in vulnerable
While in Sri Lanka, the Minister also met with officials to reiterate
Canada's concerns about the lack of meaningful post-civil war
"Canada again calls on the government of Sri Lanka to live up to the
standard of membership in the Commonwealth and show tangible progress
on a process of national political reconciliation and to seriously
address allegations of human rights violations by both sides during the
civil war," said Minister Kenney. "Our Government will continue to
stand up against human rights abuses abroad, including with
commonwealth member countries."
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SOURCE: Citizenship and Immigration Canada
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