CSIS Beefs Up Screening For Tamil Tigers

CSIS beefs up screening for Tamil Tigers
Extra agents added in Sri Lanka as backlog grows for Canadian visa requests

Bill Curry
Globe And Mail
June 10, 2009

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Ottawa —- Canada is boosting its immigration screening in Sri Lanka shifting overseas CSIS agents from New Delhi to Colombo in a bid to keep defeated Tamil Tiger terrorists from landing here.

In addition to moving agents from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Canada Border Services Agency from their posts in India, the federal immigration department is adding staff to manage the growing backlog of Sri Lankan visa requests.

Richard Fadden, the deputy minister of Citizenship and Immigration who takes over as head of CSIS on June 27, told MPs Tuesday that any hint of association to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam now triggers in-depth screening.

We are insisting that all applications that have any possibility of involvement with the LTTE be referred to secondary review either by CBSA or by CSIS, Mr. Fadden said during an appearance before the House of Commons immigration committee.

Liberal MP Jim Karygiannis, whose Scarborough-Agincourt riding is home to many Tamil-Canadians, accused the government of unnecessary delays at a time when families are desperate to be united in Canada.

Is it because your department and your government has a view that if you're a Tamil, you're a Tiger, you're a terrorist? he asked.

Of course it's not, replied Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, who appeared with Mr. Fadden.

Mr. Kenney has vowed to speed up family-reunification applications coming from Sri Lanka. But his deputy, Mr. Fadden, said security concerns can lead to a second, and even a third round of interviews as part of the application process.

While we do want to do everything we can to expedite the handling of files, one aspect that can slow down these files are security concerns, said Mr. Fadden.