Dramatic increase in people having Canadian citizenship revoked since Trudeau elected
2017/02/13 Leave a comment
The increase in numbers reflects largely the results of investigations initiated under the previous government, combined with the removal of previous procedural protections (recourse to Federal Court).
But encouraging that a procedural protections fix looks likely judging by comments by Senator Omidvar on the eve of C6 committee hearings:
Josh Paterson, executive director of the association, told the National Post an assurance of due process should’ve been part of Bill C-6. “People readily grasp that when you take away someone’s citizenship, they ought to be entitled to a hearing if they want one.”
Paterson said he has been talking to senators about amendments. So has NDP MP Jenny Kwan, who tried amending the bill in a House of Commons committee but had her amendments ruled out of scope.
“It was frankly astounding to me that (the Liberal government) neglected to fix that critical part in the bill,” she said. “Virtually all of the witnesses came forward to say that we need to restore due process.”
The Senate sponsor of Bill C-6, independent senator Ratna Omidvar, confirmed there are plans to table such amendments in the Senate, likely at third reading.
“Everyone was open to an amendment,” she said in an interview, adding she’s “fairly positive” it will prove uncontroversial, since the argument for due process “would win over any ideological argument.”
Former immigration minister John McCallum had told senators in October he would “certainly welcome” the amendment, and told the Commons he believed “people should have a right to a proper appeal.” Bernie Derible, director of communications for new minister Ahmed Hussen, said “it would not be appropriate” for the minister to comment while the Senate deliberates.
Saying the bill’s passage is long overdue, Omidvar predicted things could wrap up in March. But its passage through the Senate will come with controversy, especially as Tory senators are expected to assert their belief that citizenship should still be revoked from convicted criminals.
It’s a sentiment shared by many. More than half of Canadians, 53 per cent, would rather have kept Bill C-24 as-is, according to an Angus Reid Institute poll from March 2016, which questioned 1,492 people and had a margin of error of 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In a speech to the chamber in December, Conservative Daniel Lang noted measures in Bill C-24 have already been used to revoke citizenship from several people — part of the “Toronto 18” — who were involved in Toronto terror plots in 2006.
“Dual national Canadian terrorists are not like every other Canadian, and they don’t deserve the same rights and privileges as every other citizen,” Lang argued. “Why do you think that perpetrating an act of terrorism is of less gravity than someone who commits a fraudulent act by signing a false affidavit?”
Explaining increases in citizenship revocation, Caron said immigration workers have been prioritizing “the most serious cases such as those involving serious criminality or organized fraud.” Examples include assuming a fraudulent identity, producing doctored documents to conceal criminality, or falsifying residence records.
Since November 2015, 14 people have had citizenship revoked for hiding crimes they committed while they were permanent residents of Canada, and another five had citizenship revoked for hiding crimes committed before they immigrated.
In the former case, if their citizenship is revoked, people revert back to being foreign nationals, while in the latter case, people revert back to being permanent residents.
Revocation doesn’t necessarily result in a deportation order, but depending on the situation, the Canada Border Services Agency sometimes takes “enforcement action such as removal,” according to papers submitted to parliament.
A document tabled in response to a question on the order paper says an additional 100 people, at least, had their citizenship applications rejected due to misrepresentation between November 2015 and November 2016.