Canada warns Lankan immigrants

Canada has warned Sri Lankan would-be illegal immigrants saying stern action will be taken against them if they try to enter Canadian soil illegally.

The warning came after at least 148 Sri Lankans who were attempting to reach Canada were arrested in late May in the African republic of Benin and were deported back to Sri Lanka yesterday.

The Canadian government, which has pledged stronger efforts to stop illegal migrant ships before they reach Canada, worked with the government of Sri Lanka to interdict the group in Benin, the Globe and Mail reported.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s office celebrated the thwarted effort to smuggle humans into Canada.

“Our Conservative government is sending a strong message to these despicable criminals who think Canada is the world’s doormat: We are on to you, we will catch you, and we will punish you,” Kenney spokesman Alexis Pavlich was quoted by the Globe and Mail as saying.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government was prompted to take a tougher line against human smuggling after hundreds of Sri Lankan refugee claimants were shipped to Canadian shores in recent years by Southeast Asian-based organizers.

In August of 2010, the MV Sun Sea brought 497 Tamils to Canada. In October 2009 the MV Ocean Lady ferried 76 Sri Lankan asylum seekers to Canada.