Canada has introduced new immigration legislation to further criminalize the smuggling of foreign nationals into Canada, particularly where there may be a connection to terrorist financing. The Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act (Bill C-49) gives the Minister of Public Safety the competence to designate the arrival of a group of foreign nationals, such as the recent group of Tamil migrants who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sea, in Canada as an irregular arrival.
The designation can be made if the identity of the foreign nationals cannot be done in a timely manner or if there are grounds to suspect that the foreign nationals were smuggled into Canada in association with a listed terrorist group. The competence of the Minister to make the designation is retroactive to March 31, 2009 and will apply to the Tamil migrants who arrived aboard the MV Sun Sun and those who arrived aboard the Ocean Lady.
On arrival to Canada, designated foreign nationals will be held in detention for about a year so that their identities can be ascertained and to complete background investigations to ensure that their arrival does not pose a threat to Canadians from terrorism or terrorist financing.
The new legislation amends the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, Balanced Refugee Reform Act, and Marine Transportation Security Act.