Border services, police arrest dozens of alleged illegal immigrants
April 03, 2009 09:26 AM
Canada Border Services Agency and South Simcoe Police officers arrested 79 people in Bradford yesterday in an investigation into alleged illegal immigration.
All of the arrests were made under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, making it the largest case of its kind in the history of the GTA.
Officers from the two law-enforcement agencies searched three business operations and several residences to make the arrests.
The Cericola Farms chicken processing plant was one of the businesses searched.
“It went textbook perfect, which is a credit to the people of the Canada Border Services Agency and our officers,” South Simcoe Police Chief Bruce J. Davis said, referring to the searches and arrests.
No charges have yet been laid under the Criminal Code of Canada, but a criminal warrant was executed by the Canada Border Services Agency's criminal investigations division. The agency is investigating whether abuse of illegal workers or human trafficking took place.
“Many of the people taken into custody today are themselves victims,” Mr. Davis said.
The Canada Border Services Agency, with assistance from South Simcoe Police, has been conducting the investigation into the alleged Immigration and Refugee Protection Act violations for three months.
More than 100 of the agency's personnel and more than 50 South Simcoe Police members were involved.
The people arrested were taken to the Canada Border Services Agency's holding centre in Mississauga.
After 48 hours in custody, each person is entitled to go before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada for a detention review, similar to a bail hearing.
Mr. Davis confirmed the detainees are adults.
The detainees come from various parts of the world and Canada Border Services Agency will have to determine which countries through interviews with them, said Reg Williams, director of inland enforcement for the Canada Border Services Agency in the GTA region.
Mr. Davis said he wasn't surprised by the situation.
“There are many things that go on that would keep people up at night,” he said.