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Wednesday, October 31, 2012 - 06.17 GMT
MV Sun Sea: Only 20 refugee claims approved so far


More than two years after a boatload of 492 of asylum-seeking Tamils arrived on the West Coast, the vast majority of the migrants remain in Canada waiting for decision on their refugee claims, only 20 refugee claims have since been approved and 35 have been rejected. Two have been removed from the country.

An update on the status of the migrants was tabled in the Canadian House this week by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews in response to a question put to him in June by NDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan montrealgazzette reported.

On Aug. 13, 2010, 492 Tamil migrants arrived along the B.C. coast aboard the rusting cargo ship MV Sun Sea. All of them subsequently made refugee claims.

Another 23 individuals were excluded from the refugee determination process because the Immigration and Refugee Board found them inadmissible for reasons of national security or because of their involvement in the smuggling operation.

So far, two of them have been removed from Canada — one to Sri Lanka, the other to India.

The remaining 414 migrants continue to wait to learn their fates.

Meanwhile, a criminal investigation resulted in charges of people smuggling against six people. Their trials are pending.

This past June, Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act, was passed by Parliament. The law, in part, sets out mandatory minimum sentences for those involved in smuggling, and requires that refugee-seekers who come to Canada by way of a smuggler wait longer for permanent residency and family sponsorship.





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Last modified: October 31, 2012.

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