People who accuse the 492 Tamil refugees who recently arrived on B.C. shores of jumping the queue are “ill-informed,” said a Vancouver spokesman for the Tamil Congress.

“There is a big difference between immigrants and refugees,” David Poopalapillai said.

“When it comes to refugees, there is no queue-jumping, because they’re running for their lives from hostile conditions.”

Harsha Walia, organizer of a downtown weekend protest, claimed that she and fellow protesters are willing to open their homes to the refugees if they are freed from detention.

“Detentions are jail cells,” she said.

“Particularly for women and children, there’s no reason for them to be incarcerated.”

Across Canada, 63 per cent of respondents to an Angus Reid poll released last Thursday said the ship should never have been granted access to Canada.

In addition, 83 per cent said the refugees are jumping the immigration queue.