News/Canada: B.C. seeks permission to detain migrants

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Subject: News/Canada: B.C. seeks permission to detain migrants
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Wed Sep 29 1999 - 11:25:13 EDT


Well, it seems that Canada's response is to lock all the trafficking
victims up!

melanie

)___________

B.C. seeks permission to detain migrants
CBC News, September 7, 1999

VANCOUVER - Immigration officals in British Columbia will go before
ajudicators today asking that more than 320 Chinese migrants be kept in
extended detention.

Three ships carrying a total of nearly 450 migrants arrived of the coast of
B.C. this summer. Officials say they fear many of people on the last two
migrant ships will flee Canada while they're waiting for the government to
consider their refugee claims.

Eighty-six refugee claimants from the first ship of 123 have been released
from custody. Since then officials began worrying about flight risk and
last week they recommended the migrants remain in detention.

Some of those who have been released have not checked in with immigration
officials as required.

Meanwhile, the Immigration and Refugee Board plans to deal with the
migrants' cases with near lightening speed.

Most refugee claimants wait up to a year to have their cases heard but for
many of the migrants, the wait will be as short as 10 weeks.

The first 44 are scheduled to go before the Immigration and Refugee Board
two weeks from now.

Spokesman Lynn Gates says all of the migrant claims should have gone
through the system by December.

"This is an extremely unusual situation and deserves our attention as
rapidly as possible," he says.

Critics suspect that the fast-track process may have to do with limiting
political embarrassment over Canada's immigration policies.

Keith Martin, a Reform MP from Vancouver Island says: "The government is
obviously feeling the heat of this thing, the boatpeople coming over here,
and in fact it's shedding light on an immigration system that's been in
disarray for quite some time."

Melanie Orhant
morhant@igc.org
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