Human Smuggling: What Happens Next? Interview with Scott Bell

Yesterday, immigration lawyer Scott Bell spoke to David Kirton on CKOM 650’s “Saskatchewan Afternoon” about the recent human smuggling case on the Saskatchewan-North Dakota border. Last Friday, a 43-year-old Regina woman was arrested by RCMP and charged with human smuggling; now the U.S. Border Patrol has reported that it has made additional arrests near the same entry points into Saskatchewan from North Dakota.

The question David Kirton posed to Scott Bell was, “What happens to the humans who are being smuggled?”

Read excerpts of Scott’s comments below, or listen to his complete interview with CKOM 650 (scroll to April 20 at 1 p.m.).

“The [Canadian Border Services Agency] will take the information of these individuals; they’re going to find out what their potential claim is, and they’re going to run security clearances…to determine who exactly they are, where they’re coming from, what their legal status was in the U.S. and what their purpose is in Canada…. At that point, if there’s no reasonable purpose to keep them detained, they would release them, pending some kind of removal process or pending some kind of refugee application, which would work its way through the standard process.

“If there’s no legal basis on which they can bring the refugee claim or asylum claim, the removal process may begin sooner. When it comes to removals, the Canada Border Services Agency has a priority of risk listing.… We usually wouldn’t see detention of this type of individual unless there’s a security, criminal or risk concern, or there’s an issue of the individual just cannot be identified…. They’re not going to just release a ‘John Doe’ out into the public…until they can properly determine who [he is].”

Scott also discussed the “safe third country rule” and the role it plays in individuals resorting to illegal crossings instead of making a claim at a legal port of entry.

Scott Bell practises immigration law with a focus on business and employment based applications. He can be reached at