MONTREAL - Canadian lawyers representing three families who helped whistleblower Edward Snowden in Hong Kong are urging Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to expedite their applications as refugees.

Since a March 9 news conference by lawyers seeking to bring the families to Canada, Hong Kong officials have sought to expedite their deportations to their home countries of Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Lawyers told a news conference in Montreal today they want the Canadian government to accept the families on an exceptional basis while their applications are processed.

Despite filing paperwork with federal officials in January, lawyer Marc-Andre Seguin says they haven't heard anything from the Canadian government.

Seguin fears they are weeks away from being deported from Hong Kong to their countries of origin.