Hungarian Roma refugee claimants targeted in CBSA report
CBSA report recommended tightening refugee rules Police and border officials have busted an Ontario-based human smuggling operation, arresting 85 people.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says the foreign nationals, all of whom come from one district in Romania, went to Mexico, then crossed the Mexico-U.S. border illegally and drove to Canada, crossing at Stanstead, Que. Kenney spoke to reporters in Stanstead Wednesday.
"Unfortunately, there are criminal organizations that from time to time seek to abuse our immigration laws and profit from that abuse," he said.
Of the 85, 45 are adults. Those arrested will be detained under a new provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that allows detention for irregular or mass arrivals.
Under the new provision, those detained have access to a lawyer only after two weeks and then again after six months, a matter that has been heavily criticized.
Those facing charges under the Criminal Code would have the same access to a lawyer as Canadians.
Two government sources told CBC News that the migrants are Roma, but Kenney refused to confirm that.
The traffickers would offer to smuggle people into Canada, promising good jobs, according to the source. But when they arrive, they owe large debts to the smugglers and some allegedly support themselves through thievery, sometimes using distraction operations to steal from people or stores.
Most of them ended up in Toronto, although some moved to Winnipeg, Thunder Bay, Ont., and Montreal, Kenney said.
The Romanian nationals arrived from the U.S. on five different dates since Feb. 2