McCallum doesn’t want to let fraudsters ‘off the hook’ through moratorium on citizenship revocation
2016/10/22 Leave a comment
There is a distinction between fraud cases investigated by the RCMP and those investigated by IRCC. The Minister seems to be referring to only the latter. In general, if I recall correctly, the RCMP cases deal more with massive fraud (e.g., consultants submitted multiple fraudulent applications) whereas IRCC deal more with individual cases.
IRCC data shows the vast majority of fraud cases are a result of IRCC internal investigations, not RCMP, as the chart below indicates:
The federal government is trying to revoke the citizenship of fraudsters, and that’s why it won’t agree to a moratorium on citizenship revocation, says Immigration Minister John McCallum.
“We have large numbers of a criminal element unveiled by the RCMP, and reported on by the auditor general. It was actually under the previous government that [investigations began that] we are now dealing with…and those people have really, truly abused our citizenship. So it would not be right to have a moratorium, and let them off the hook,” he said in a phone interview Thursday.
…. He [immigration lawyer Lorne Waldman] is part of a group bringing a constitutional challenge against a law brought in by the previous Conservative government, known as it was as C-24, that means a person who’s received notice of citizenship revocation doesn’t have a right to an appeal or court hearing.Mr. Waldman and another lawyer said they’re representing clients in similar circumstances to Ms. Monsef where their citizenship is in jeopardy because another family member is accused of misrepresentation.
Mr. McCallum (Markham-Thornhill, Ont.) acknowledged that the lack of an appeals mechanism needs to be fixed, but wouldn’t go as far as to instruct his department to stop revoking citizenships until one is set up, preferring instead to allow it to be developed through a change to a citizenship bill, C-6, currently at second reading in the Senate.
The bill aims to reverse parts of the Conservative legislation, C-24, that allowed the government to pull citizenship from dual nationals convicted of terrorism, expanded the age range of immigrants subject to language testing, and more.
Mr. McCallum told the Senate during an appearance Oct. 4 for Question Period that he would welcome a Senate amendment to C-6 to put in place an appeals process for new Canadians who had their citizenship revoked for providing false information on their citizenship application.
However, he wavered on whether he would pause revocations while C-6 went through Parliament when asked by Senate Liberal Art Eggleton, saying “no,” then saying he would “consider” it. The federal Justice Department confirmed the government would not impose such a moratorium in a letter to the Federal Court last week, the Canadian Press reported.
The government has increased the rate of citizenship revocations for fraud since the Liberals took power. That includes 104 revocations in the first eight months of this year, compared with 132 in all of last year and just 30 in the previous two years combined, the CBC reported.
‘Never entitled’ to citizenship
Mr. McCallum said the government is not trying to revoke the citizenship of the alleged fraudsters before an amended C-6 could bring in an appeals mechanism.
“As a result of that RCMP investigation, they are pursuing cases, which we fully support. It takes a while to pursue those cases, and some of them are just coming to the revocation point now. It wasn’t an effort for any particular reason, except that they were ready. And we are definitely supporting efforts to go after the criminal element and remove citizenship where it was clearly done for fraudulent or criminal reasons,” he said.
In a written statement provided to The Hill Times, Mr. McCallum’s office said “the recent increase in citizenship revocations is the result of large-scale fraud investigations led by our RCMP and [Canada Border Services Agency] partners that began under the former Conservative government.
“These investigations led to criminal convictions of several immigration consultants, and notices of intent to revoke citizenship were sent to their clients who had provided fraudulent documents to suggest they were living in Canada when they were living abroad, in order to gain citizenship. Others changed their identity in order to hide criminal backgrounds.