OTTAWA, Sept. 21 (UPI) -- Immigrants arriving in Canada on smugglers' ships would have to wait longer for hearings under rules proposed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, officials say.
The Conservative government hopes the change will cut down on trafficking in would-be immigrants, The Toronto Globe and Mail reports. In the most recent incident, 492 Tamils arrived in British Columbia on board a single ship from Sri Lanka in August.
A government source told the newspaper the Harper plan would create a new category of immigrant, the "mass arrival." While immigrants are now entitled to detention hearings within 48 hours before the Immigration and Refugee Board, the proposed change would extend that to 14 days for mass arrivals.
The period for another review would be extended from 30 days to 60.
A Harper spokesman said the proposed changes are being discussed by the Cabinet and no decision has been made on introducing them.