OTTAWA, October 7, 2010 (AFP) – Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Thursday his government would soon unveil a law to deter illegal immigration in response to the arrival of rickety cargo ships carrying Tamil refugees.
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Harper said current legislation does not go far enough to deter human smuggling, which “will increase in the years to come, unless we make significant changes to our law, to provide serious deterrents.”
He said his government would unveil amendments to the immigration act “designed to ensure (that) we deter this kind of behavior … which for the vast majority of Canadians is completely unacceptable.”
Border officials detained 492 Tamils who arrived in August aboard the MV Sun Sea. Another 76 were arrested in October 2009 upon arrival on Canada’s west coast aboard another freighter.
Canada and Sri Lanka allege the migrants may included members of the Tamil Tigers, banned in Canada as a terrorist organization before their defeat last year by Sri Lanka’s government after a lengthy civil war.
A third ship carrying Tamil asylum seekers is also reportedly en route for Canadian shores. Canadian authorities are trying to track it using satellites and high-tech eavesdropping equipment, t