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Bill C-49 will be reintroduced by Public Safety minister Vic Toews and Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism minister Jason Kenney under a new title, Bill C-4. Previously, the bill was rejected by all opposition parties and several human rights organizations. While aimed at the smugglers, the bill actually punishes the refugees:
The bill will require that anyone arriving in Canada as the result of human smuggling, such as arriving on a boat, be detained for one full year. It would also deny them the ability to apply for permanent residency in Canada for five years after their claim is approved, not allow them to apply for status based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, not allow them temporary resident permits for more than five years as well as eliminate their right to appeal a refugee claim denial.
The No One Is Illegal Campaign has also taken shots at the label of “human smuggler”, showing a portrait of Underground Railroad champion Harriet Tubman, who help over 70 black slaves find freedom in Canada and labeling her a human smuggler.
The director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association has also written an interesting column on the bill, which is available here.
The Bill will punish human smugglers with fines and jail time, but most human smugglers work overseas and never step foot in Canada.
Canadian laws as they stand are already sufficient to determine the truthfulness of a refugee claim, identify security threats and determine the identity of a refugee claimant, which may all necessitate detention in different cases. There really is no need for the new bill, except to punish refugees further. Are you or someone you know affected by this bill? Book an appointment and our licensed immigration lawyers can help you file a refugee claim.
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