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Harper Government Takes Action Against Human Smuggling

Minister of Public Safety makes first designation of irregular arrival under Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act

OTTAWA, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/05/12 -- The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Public Safety, and the Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, today announced the designation of five groups of foreign nationals as "irregular arrivals" under the new provisions introduced in the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act. Minister Toews' designation will allow tougher measures to be applied to those who participated in the smuggling operation.

"Human smuggling is a dangerous and despicable crime - it puts lives at risk and threatens the integrity of Canada's immigration system as well as the security and safety of Canadians," said Minister Toews. "That's why we've taken action to make Canada a less attractive destination for these criminal ventures. This designation sends a clear message to criminal organizations contemplating human smuggling ventures that Canada will take strong, targeted action to prevent abuse of our generous immigration and asylum systems. "

"Canada has one of the most generous immigration systems in the world. Our doors are open to immigrants to Canada who follow the rules and wait in line, but we have no tolerance for those who abuse our generosity or cheat the system to jump the queue," said Minister Kenney. "Today, we are sending a strong message to those who are thinking of using the services of criminal human smugglers to sneak their way into Canada - don't do it."

Under the new measures introduced through the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act, the Minister of Public Safety is able to designate the arrival of a group of persons in Canada as an "irregular arrival", and make those involved subject to the Act's measures. This includes preventing people who come to Canada as part of a designated irregular arrival from applying for permanent resident status for a period of five years. They would also be unable to sponsor family members to join them in Canada during that time.

The measures also:


--  Make it easier to prosecute human smugglers, introduce mandatory minimum
    sentences, and significantly increase fines for those convicted; 

--  Establish mandatory detention of irregular mass arrivals to allow for
    the determination of identity and admissibility of migrants and any
    other investigations; 

--  Ensure that the medical benefits received are not more generous than
    those received by the average Canadian; and

--  Allow for the termination of the refugee status of individuals who no
    longer require protection - for example, should they leave Canada to
    return to their country of origin and re-establish themselves or should
    country conditions change so they no longer need Canada's protection.

See also:

- Backgrounder: Overview: Ending the Abuse of Canada's Immigration System by Human Smugglers

- Backgrounder: Designating Human Smuggling Events

- Backgrounder: Cracking down on Human Smugglers who Abuse Canada's Immigration System

- Backgrounder: Protecting our Streets and Communities from Criminal and National Security Threats

For more information, please visit the website www.publicsafety.gc.ca.

Follow Public Safety Canada (@Safety_Canada) on Twitter.

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