A boat load of illegal immigrants has arrived on the west coast resulting in calls for changes to Canada's laws. Sound familiar?
According to the Globe and Mail, Canada will take a "hard line" with these individuals, believed to be Tamils from Sri Lanka.
10 years ago, and slightly before my time as a refugee protection officer (formerly known as a refugee hearings officer, and now known as a tribunal officer) a boatload of Chinese migrants evoked similar concerns.
In 1914, almost 100 years ago, the Komagata Maru sailed into Vancouver Harbour to meet a chilly reception. Forcibly returned to India, despite being citizens of the British Empire, 20 people were killed by the British there.
What separates this society from the one in 1914 is due process. Allow the specialized immigration tribunals to do their job and determine whether these individuals pose a threat to Canadian society, should be removed or are deserving of our protection. Calls for a 'hard line' are premature and only evoke earlier responses that were rooted in our fear of those different than us.