Four crew members of the MV Sun Sea that arrived off the coast of B.C. last summer are alleged to be Tamil Tigers operatives who helped organize the high-seas smuggling trip, Canadian federal officials say.
Hearings to determine if the four can stay in Canada have been requested by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA), which alleges the men pose a threat to national security, Toronto Sun reported.
The Canadian public uproar over the Tamils, who were accused of queue-jumping, forced the Conservative government to table legislation that would see anyone deemed to have arrived as part of a smuggling operation detained for a longer period of time than other refugee claimants.
The four men are being held in segregation at Fraser Regional Correctional Centre in B.Ç., where they have been questioned by the RCMP and border agents.
Melissa Anderson, of the Immigration and Refugee Board, said the hearings will take place this month or in February.
“We are alleging they are inadmissible to Canada on security grounds for being members of the Tamil Tigers,” Anderson said.
At least 49 women and 157 men out of the 492 carried by the Sun Sea have been ordered released by the IRB, with many choosing to remain in the Vancouver area.
Members of the Tamil community in Toronto have been lining up places for the migrants to stay but only several dozen have moved here.
Those who have been released are not allowed to work because permits have not yet been issued to them.