Border agency reports big drop in number of long-term detainees

Latest numbers:

The number of people being held for more than 90 days in immigration detention centres has declined by almost a third this year over last year, according to statistics from the Canada Border Services Agency.

The figures show that the number of detainees being held for three months or longer dropped by 29.9 per cent in 2016-17 compared with 2015-16. They also show a decline since 2012-13 of 35.3 per cent.

The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) told CBC News that it is using federal funding announced last year to expand the use of alternatives to detention.

“The funding received is dedicated to developing and deploying a technology-enabled voice reporting solution that will make it easier for low-risk persons to comply with reporting conditions imposed by CBSA officers or the Immigration and Refugee Board, while living in the community,” a CBSA spokesperson said in an email to CBC.

Detainees are also now locked up an average of 19.5 days, down from 23.1 days last year, according to the agency’s statistics.

Last year, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced $138 million for a new national immigration detention framework, with the aim of creating a more humane system.

Part of the money is being spent on a new immigration holding centre (IHC) in Surrey, B.C., which should open in December 2018. The centre in Laval, Que., is scheduled for completion in 2021. The Toronto holding centre is also being upgraded.

“By July 2018 the Toronto IHC will be equipped to house higher-risk detainees, allowing more individuals in provincial detention facilities to be transferred to the IHC on a case-by-case basis,” CBSA said in the email.

Detention in jails

On any given day in Canada, hundreds of people are detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Last year the border agency detained 6,251 people, 32.6 per cent of which were held at non-CBSA facilities such as provincial jails, even though they had not been charged with a crime.

“Detaining people long-term at short-term detention facilities is extremely problematic, and especially when some of the detentions are going on for a very long time, into the years,” said Lorne Waldman, a prominent Toronto immigration and refugee lawyer.

Immigration detainees are sent to provincial jails when they’re high-risk, aren’t close to a holding centre or, in the Vancouver area, held for more than 48 hours.

Source: Border agency reports big drop in number of long-term detainees – Politics – CBC News

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Canada border agent detentions of Mexicans surge to highest levels in a decade

While the removal of the visa requirement for Mexicans is the largest factor, the high number of detentions and asylum determination refusals suggest ongoing enforcement of entry regulations:

Detentions of Mexican nationals by Canadian border agents have surged dramatically this year to levels not seen in a decade, new figures obtained by The Canadian Press show.

According to Canada Border Services Agency, the total number of detentions from Jan. 1 into the first week of September hit 2,391 — roughly six times the 411 in all of last year — and equal to the previous five years combined.

“CBSA cannot speculate why the number has increased,” spokesman Barre Campbell said in an email Thursday. “The agency’s role is to apply Canadian law at the border.”

The sharp increase has contributed to a rise in the rate of detentions of all foreign nationals this year. Figures show agents detained 1,032 people each month this year, compared to 877 a month last year and 993 in 2015.

Experts point to two main factors as the most likely cause of the upswing in Mexicans running afoul of border agents in Canada.

Last December, the Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lifted a visa requirement for Mexicans coming to this country, making it easier to do so. The result was an immediate jump in detentions.

Additionally, the crackdown on undocumented migrants under U.S. President Donald Trump and his threat to remove deportation protections from those foreigners who entered the States illegally as children — the vast majority Mexicans — may also have prompted many of those affected to look north to Canada.

Scott Bardsley, spokesman for Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, said on Thursday that Canada was working with Mexican officials to monitor migration trends and address any risks.

“Canadian officials have co-operated closely with Mexican counterparts to lay the ground work for the visa lift and ensure that appropriate safeguards are in place,” Bardsley said in an email. “These efforts include measures to identify and deter irregular migration, including bolstering co-operation on travel-document integrity and traveller screening.”

The last time the Mexican detention numbers were anywhere near current levels was in 2008, at 3,301, border agency numbers show. That year also saw the number of Mexicans seeking refugee status in Canada reach record levels.

In response to what they characterized as phoney refugee claims, the former government under then-Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper imposed an onerous visa requirement in 2009 that meant all would-be Mexican visitors had to provide numerous supporting documents.

“We are spending an enormous amount of money on bogus refugee claims,” Harper said at the time. “This is a problem with Canadian refugee law, which encourages bogus claims.”

Harper’s visa decision resulted in an immediate plunge in detentions and asylum claims that lasted until 2015, with a slight uptick happening last year. However, the requirement angered the Mexican government and civil-rights groups in Canada among others, ultimately leading to Trudeau’s reversal of that decision late last year.

Bardsley defended dropping the visa requirement as a boon to bilateral relations, trade, investment and tourism that he said will result in lasting economic benefits for Canada.

Recent Immigration and Refugee Board statistics also show a dramatic increase in asylum requests from Mexicans this year, although the vast majority of such applications are rejected as unfounded.

In 2016, for example, 242 Mexicans applied for refugee status. Almost three times as many — 660 — were recorded in the first seven months of this year alone. The board does not keep statistics of how many people came via the U.S. rather than from Mexico itself.

The law allows the border agents to detain foreign nationals or permanent residents on reasonable suspicion they pose a danger to the public, may go underground, or where identity is in doubt. The CBSA data relates to detentions not detainees and may include a person detained more than once.

Source: Canada border agent detentions of Mexicans surge to highest levels in a decade | Toronto Star

Thousands of refugee cases suspended due to border agency delays

More on ongoing refugee determination delays, beyond IRB unfilled positions:

Despite law that requires all refugee hearings to be heard within 60 days once a claim is initially deemed eligible by an immigration officer, more and more asylum hearings like Ahmad’s have been suspended indefinitely because of delays at the Canada Border Services Agency in issuing clearances of what is known as front-end security screening.

According to the refugee board, only 46 per cent of asylum claims were heard within the statutory timeline in April, far below the 84 per cent mark two years ago.

Failures to observe the scheduling timelines are caused by delays in security clearances, operational limitations or unavailability of interpreters or counsel.

However, the proportion of hearing cancellations due to delays in obtaining a security clearance has ballooned from just 6 per cent two years ago to a peak of 55 per cent in December, meaning more than half of cancelled hearings were due to border officials’ inability to meet timelines for assessing if a claimant poses threats to Canada due to criminal or security concerns.

Although cancellations due to a pending security clearance were down to just 13 per cent in April, cases cancelled due to so-called operational limitations such as unavailability of refugee judges was up to 32 per cent from 8 per cent in 2015 and 13 per cent in 2016.

In the first four months of this year, 1,769 refugee hearings were cancelled because claimants’ security clearances were not ready. The border agency performed 12,997 security checks for refugees in 2015 and 19,449 last year.

“The (former) Conservative government has put in place a system with strict timelines without the resources to meet the timelines,” said Ahmad’s lawyer, Max Berger.

“Lots of claimants are devastated. They are psyched to tell their stories and have their date in (refugee) courts. The hidden cost is the delays in their family reunification.”

The refugee board said the border agency is responsible for informing it that security screening has been completed. The board doesn’t receive the actual security screening report but only a confirmation if a hearing can go ahead.

“Security screening is done to ensure that individuals who might pose a risk to Canada would not be granted protection and could not use the refugee determination process to gain admittance to Canada,” said Line-Alice Guibert-Wolff, a spokesperson for the board.

“In those cases where confirmation of security screening has not been received in time for the initially scheduled hearing, the (refugee board) will remove the hearing from the schedule and set a new date and time for the hearing as soon as feasible upon confirmation of the security screening.”

It is not known how long it takes to schedule a new hearing but claimants often are given a “target” date six months later.

“Front-end securing screening for an individual refugee claimant may take time depending on complexity or requirements for additional research,” said border agency spokesperson Patrizia Giolti.

“While there is no one specific factor that may impact the (security clearance) processing workload and timelines, 2016 has seen a significant increase over the previous year, in the number of asylum claims.”

The agency has started to give the refugee board two weeks’ notice if a screening is expected to be completed in time for a hearing and has brought in additional staff to work over the summer to perform security screening to address the backlog, said Giolti.

Calling the situation a “nightmare,” lawyer Raoul Boulakia said he has had a case where a refugee judge felt there was compelling reasons to grant asylum to a persecuted Afghan journalist and was ready to proceed with a hearing. However, the case was held up without a completed security clearance.

Recently, the refugee board has introduced a “50/50” policy by postponing 50 per cent of all new asylum cases to deal what’s known as legacy cases, which were put on the back-burner after December 2012, when the then Tory government overhauled the system to impose the statutory timeline to expedite the processing of refugee claims.

By delaying the hearings without injecting more resources, Boulakia said the problem is simply snowballing and gets worse down the road.

Source: Thousands of refugee cases suspended due to border agency delays | Toronto Star

ICYMI: ‘They were very persistent’: CBC finds more cash-for-jobs immigration schemes

Good article on one of the fraud schemes, appears largely related to Saskatchewan’s provincial nominee program:

An ongoing court case suggests this sort of thing may have been going on for years in Saskatchewan.

In December 2015, Qi Wang and Yujuan Cui, a couple from White City, Sask. — a bedroom community of Regina — were charged with violating the Criminal Code and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act for allegedly creating fake job offers or inducing others to do so.

The husband and wife, who now live in Roberts Creek, B.C., are set to stand trial in January for their actions related to hundreds of immigration files in Saskatchewan.

Wang and Cui have been on the radar of immigration authorities since 2008.

In its fact statement filed in court, the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says from 2008 to 2010, the province of Saskatchewan had suspended Wang from using its Immigrant Nominee Program because “he had been offering jobs from Saskatchewan companies that were not in existence and offering positions from a company for which authorization had not been received.”

Then, in 2012, CBSA was tipped off by provincial officials about some more suspicious activity.

During the two-year investigation that followed, from 2012 to 2014, CBSA seized material including “documents containing signature blocks and business header information taped onto job offers as well as documents with the employer’s email address portion cut out or taped over with a new address.”

Investigators allege that Wang and Cui made fake job offers to Chinese nationals, sometimes using non-existent companies. They also theorize that the couple approached and counselled “legitimate Saskatchewan companies to provide fraudulent job offers to Chinese nationals” and promised “to compensate legitimate Saskatchewan companies for providing fraudulent job offers.”

In all, CBSA says the couple “illegally received $600,000 from Chinese nationals” and “paid out approximately $95,000 to seventeen different Saskatchewan business owners.”

In documents seized from the couple, investigators found the names of 1,229 people. The province had received immigration applications from 422 of them.

CBSA found that 27 of those had their applications rejected, but 78 had already become permanent residents.

The court document says “CBSA did not have the capacity to ascertain with certainty the number of applications that were fraudulent.”

Permanent residency marketed as ‘commodity’

None of this is surprising to Raj Sharma, a Calgary immigration lawyer who used to work for the immigration refugee board as a hearing officer.

“Wherever you have this hot economy and favourable immigration climate, you’re gonna see this type of action,” he said.

He said this is precisely the sort of thing they’ve been seeing for years in Alberta.

Sharma said he knows it goes on because he regularly gets calls from people wanting his firm to find them a job in exchange for money — which he says is illegal.

“We respond and say that’s not what we do. But obviously they make that inquiry because there are others who do,” he said.

He said those who are willing to flout the law can command “five to 10 to 100 times more than our fees.”

“Canadian residency is a sought-after commodity and an asset,” he said.

He insisted in order to stop people from exploiting that fact, enforcement needs to be tougher and the rules need to be strengthened.

He said that’s especially so in Saskatchewan, where the program “is looser and more generous than Alberta.”

When asked about CBC’s Vstar investigation, the Saskatchewan premier’s office responded with a brief written statement, saying, “Saskatchewan has the strongest nominee program in Canada and we are determined to make sure that it remains the strongest.”

“As always, the government treats any suspected immigration infractions very seriously. Government officials look into information provided by anyone showing potential evidence of wrongdoing.”

When asked, the premier’s office didn’t explain what it meant by “strongest.”

Sharma said Alberta prioritizes approving the immigration applications of people who already live in the province and work or study there, whereas Saskatchewan “will still allow someone to come directly from overseas and I think perhaps that should be tightened up.”

He said it’s implausible that someone from China with weak language skills would be able to land a job in Canada without assistance.

And he said there are many who are willing to “help.”

“It is inevitably fostering fraud,” Sharma said.

Source: ‘They were very persistent’: CBC finds more cash-for-jobs immigration schemes – Saskatchewan – CBC News

Services d’immigration: hausse importante des vérifications policières | Montréal

The limits to the “sanctuary city” designations:

Malgré la désignation récente de Montréal à titre de «ville sanctuaire», les contacts des policiers avec les autorités fédérales pour vérifier le statut d’immigration de personnes interceptées pour diverses infractions ont augmenté de façon marquée depuis le début de l’année, et de 67% en moyenne depuis 2014.

Au cours de la même période, les policiers de Toronto ont réduit de 20% leurs vérifications auprès de l’Agence des services frontaliers du Canada (ASFC), tandis qu’elles ont été à peu près stables à Vancouver, révèlent des documents obtenus par La Presse en vertu de la Loi sur l’accès à l’information.

Selon l’assistant-directeur du Service de police de la Ville de Montréal, Daniel Touchette, cette hausse est due à l’amélioration des communications avec l’Agence des services frontaliers du Canada, notamment grâce à l’implantation d’une ligne téléphonique directe, dans le but de mieux combattre la criminalité ayant des ramifications internationales.

Même en cas de délit mineur, comme traverser la rue à un endroit interdit ou prendre le métro sans payer, ces vérifications peuvent entraîner l’arrestation d’un individu, sa détention et parfois son expulsion, si les policiers constatent qu’il se trouve au Canada illégalement. Il sera alors remis aux autorités frontalières.

Des victimes d’actes criminels qui font appel à la police pour être protégées peuvent elles-mêmes être arrêtées si les agents découvrent, en contrôlant leur identité, que leur statut n’est pas en règle, indique Daniel Touchette, confirmant ainsi ce que dénoncent les organismes qui viennent en aide aux sans-papiers.

Quelle protection offre la «ville sanctuaire»?

Cette question est au coeur des débats entourant la décision de Montréal de se donner le statut de «ville sanctuaire», en février dernier. Ce statut est censé permettre aux immigrants sans statut légal d’obtenir n’importe quel service municipal, incluant l’aide des policiers, sans crainte d’être dénoncés aux autorités frontalières.

Les policiers ne devraient jamais s’enquérir du statut d’immigration de qui que ce soit, sauf en cas d’infraction criminelle, selon les organisations qui travaillent avec les personnes sans papiers.

«On ne fait aucune vérification aléatoire de statut d’immigration, répond Daniel Touchette. Mais l’ASFC peut être un outil pour nous permettre de vérifier l’identité d’une personne. Et si on voit un mandat d’arrestation dans la banque de données, on a une obligation légale d’appliquer.»

Pourtant, l’Association canadienne des chefs de police (ACCP) affirme que les policiers ne se préoccupent pas du statut d’immigration, sauf en cas d’infraction criminelle ou autre raison valable. L’ACCP reconnaît que «les victimes, témoins et plaignants cherchent l’assurance que s’ils doivent faire appel aux services policiers, leur statut d’immigration ne sera pas une préoccupation», a-t-elle fait savoir dans une déclaration envoyée par courriel, tout en précisant ne pas avoir de position officielle sur la question des villes sanctuaires.

Source: Services d’immigration: hausse importante des vérifications policières | Isabelle Ducas | Montréal

Canada deports hundreds to China each year with no treatment guarantee

The large number of deportations to China reflects in part the large number of immigrants from China: 1,386 deportations compared to over 78,000 immigrants, or 1.8 percent (2013-15).

However, this is more than other large source countries like the Philippines and India. Given lack of due process in Chinese courts, this concern is not misplaced with respect to corruption cases:

The Canadian government is deporting hundreds of people to China each year without receiving any assurances that they will not be tortured or otherwise mistreated, statistics provided to The Globe and Mail reveal.

Canada and China do not have a formal extradition treaty, and the Trudeau government has signalled that it may not complete such a deal out of concern about abuses in the Chinese justice system.

The lack of such a deal has not, however, stopped Canada from sending people back to China. The Canada Border Services Agency has used deportation, expelling 1,386 people to China over the past three years, according to agency statistics.

It’s a process that lawyers, academics and former diplomats say offers too few protections against the mistreatment deportees might endure.

It also places Canada at risk of using evidence rooted in coerced confessions as Canadian authorities make decisions on ejecting people, particularly those sought by Beijing as part of its sweeping global Skynet operation to chase people it calls corrupt fugitives.

When people are returned to a country such as China, “there’s a need for very significant and enforceable assurances about the treatment they will receive and monitoring on the part of Canada – which Canada has not done,” said Sharryn Aiken, an expert on immigration and refugee law at Queen’s University.

“And in the absence of monitoring, people die in jail.”

The United Nations Committee against Torture has said that in China “the practice of torture and ill-treatment is still deeply entrenched in the criminal-justice system.”

Canada’s own foreign service recently signed its name to a letter saying there are “credible claims of torture” against people under interrogation in China.

Before deporting someone, Canadian immigration officials can conduct what is called a “preremoval risk assessment,” designed to evaluate whether a person is in danger of mistreatment upon return. “Due diligence is important before undertaking any removal measures,” said Nicholas Dorion, a spokesman for the Canada Border Services Agency. That assessment is “in place to ensure that a person will not be removed to a country where they could face death or torture.”

But risk assessments are done entirely in Canada and do not include demands that China guarantee it will abide by certain standards of conduct, or allow Canada to monitor deportees.

“Many of us don’t feel it’s really an effective safeguard,” said Vancouver immigration lawyer Douglas Cannon. “Especially in the case of people who are being sent back to face prosecution in China.”

The potential for problems is serious enough that David Mulroney, the former Canadian ambassador to China, says Ottawa should refuse to co-operate with Beijing on most corruption cases, limiting joint law-enforcement work to public-safety cases involving people accused of murder or drug offences.

When China demands the return of people it calls corrupt, it is asking Canada “to send people back into a very murky and worrisome Chinese system,” he said. “You have to be very sure that you are not on the Canadian side enabling the Chinese to unfairly prosecute someone.”

Using Interpol

Ottawa does have the ability to demand assurances from countries such as China, as it did in the high-profile deportation of notorious smuggler Lai Changxing in 2011. Beijing pledged not to torture or execute the man it then considered its number one most-wanted. China also promised Canada extraordinary rights to monitor his treatment. Mr. Lai’s case, however, was a notable exception.

Canada maintains lists of countries to which deportations are either permanently or temporarily blocked, although it has exceptions for criminals and people deemed to be a security risk. Canada deported 6,964 people in 2016. Of those, 382 were sent to China, just more than 5 per cent of the total, CBSA statistics show. In recent years, Chinese citizens have been the fourth-most regularly deported from Canada, behind citizens of Hungary, the United States and Mexico.

Source: Canada deports hundreds to China each year with no treatment guarantee – The Globe and Mail

Americans increasingly refused entry to Canada, documents show

Interesting trend and possible explanation (not provided by CBSA):

While many Canadians are concerned about having problems at the United States border, it is Americans who are having difficulties visiting Canada with the number turned away rising by 31 per cent last year, La Presse has learned.

According to federal documents, 30,233 Americans were turned away when attempting to enter Canada in 2016. In 2015, 23,052 people were turned back, representing an increase of 31 per cent in one year.

The numbers are all the more striking when compared to 2014, when 7,509 American citizens were refused entry to Canada. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), which is responsible for border security, would not provide reasons for the increase.

“The CBSA is not in a position to speculate,” said Nicholas Dorion, a spokesperson for the agency. “The number of people turned away at the border fluctuates from year to year.”

The announcement of a new intelligence sharing agreement between Ottawa and Washington in 2013 likely played a role, according to Tamara Mosher Kuczer, a lawyer specializing in immigration matters with the law office Capelle Kane in Ottawa.

Under the deal, Canadian border agents can more easily detect Americans with a criminal record who show up at the border. Infractions, some decades old, could not be detected before the deal.

“We receive many more demands from people who travelled for years to Canada without a problem and who are now refused entry for a drinking and driving infractions that dates back 40 years,” the lawyer said.

The CBSA refused to detail the reasons for the 30,233 refusals of American travellers last year. People turned back at the border generally receive “permission to leave,” the federal agency said.

“If an individual is suspected of being prohibited from Canadian territory by a Canadian border agent for a reason cited by the Immigration and Refugee Act, the agent must always consider authorizing the person to leave Canada voluntarily,” said Dorion. “When the agent at the border authorizes a person to take back their request to enter Canada they have to proceed by providing a formula entitled ‘authorized to leave Canada’ “

It is the ‘authorized to leave Canada’ documents that La Presse was able to consult under the Access to Information Act.

Since the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, Canadians are less frequently turned away at the U.S. border. According to The Canadian Press, the number of Canadians refused entry at American land crossings dropped by 8.5 per cent over the last five months. That means that 6,875 Canadians could not get across the border between October 2016 and February 2017, compared to 7,619 in the same period a year earlier.

Source: Americans increasingly refused entry to Canada, documents show | Toronto Star

The Deported: Hundreds of B.C. criminals without citizenship shipped out

Underlying logic undermined by blind application to those who have spent most of their life in Canada, where their criminality developed:

The 2013 legislation means any permanent resident sentenced to six months or more can be deported with fewer avenues of appeal. The old threshold was a two-year court sentence and more chances to appeal.

CBSA statistics show that the new rules have had the intended effect.

The total number of criminals deported from the Pacific region in 2011, 2o12 and 2013 was 174. Over the subsequent three years,  276 people were deported from the region for their criminal history.

Some have been high-profile gangsters like Barzan Tilli-Choli, of the United Nations gang, who was sent back to Iraq in January after serving almost eight years for plotting to kill the Bacon brothers. He came to B.C. as a teen in 1999.

Others, like Van Heest, suffer from serious mental health issues that contributed to their criminality.

Many of those affected have been in Canada since early childhood, but their caregivers never obtained citizenship for them.

Somebody dropped the ball, whether it was the parent or the state if they ended up being a ward,” Golden said.

In Van Heest’s case, his family thought he was automatically a Canadian.

“By the time he was an adult and could have (applied for citizenship), he couldn’t because he had the (criminal) record and he was also dealing with a mental illness that was untreated,” Golden said.

Critics say the new rules are unforgiving and don’t look at the individual circumstances of those ordered out of Canada for criminality.

Conservative MP Michelle Rempel said she supported the legislation in 2013 and still supports it today. And she thinks the majority of Canadians do, too.

“The primary responsibility of legislators is to keep the Canadian population safe, so that’s really … why we made these changes in 2013,” she said.

Focusing on any specific case, including Van Heest’s, is the wrong approach, Rempel said.

“Where I think we go off the rails is when we look at one case in a vacuum, or talk about taking away the personal responsibility component from criminal actions.”

CBSA communications officer Kristine Wu said the agency places “the highest priority on removal cases involving national security, organized crime, crimes against humanity and criminals.”

“Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process before the law,” she said. “Our position is clear: Once all avenues of recourse are exhausted, the person must leave Canada or be removed.”

One of those the CBSA is currently trying to deport is long-time Kelowna resident David Roger Revell, a former Hells Angel associate convicted in 2008 of conspiracy to traffic cocaine after a massive RCMP undercover operation targeting the biker gang. He was sentenced to five years.

Then in 2013, he pleaded guilty to two assault charges in a domestic violence case involving a former girlfriend and was sentenced to two years probation.

Revell, a father and grandfather who now works in Alberta, was born in England and was brought to Canada as a 10-year-old in 1974. Like Van Heest, he never got Canadian citizenship. Unlike Van Heest, his convictions are unrelated to mental illness.

Revell argued to the Immigration and Refugee Board last year that he never would have pleaded guilty in the assault case if he had known it would lead the CBSA to renew a review of his admissibility that had been on hold after the 2008 conviction.

“According to Mr. Revell, he pled guilty to simply put an end to proceedings that were requiring him to travel back and forth from Fort McMurray to Kelowna,” Immigration and Refugee Board member Marc Tessler noted in a July 2016 ruling. “According to Mr. Revell, if he had received a warning letter, he would never have pled guilty.”

Tessler agreed with Revell’s evidence that his deportation to England would have a “profound” impact on him.

“He has lived in Canada for 42 years and has only known Canada as home,” Tessler said.

But Tessler rejected Revell’s claims that his Charter rights had been violated and ordered him deported.

Revell has now asked the Federal Court to review Tessler’s decision. A hearing is set in Vancouver for May.

Revell’s lawyer Lorne Waldman said he plans to again argue that his client’s Charter rights would be violated by his deportation and that “Canadian jurisprudence should begin to acknowledge that it is just unacceptable to remove someone from the only country he’s ever really known.”

“The issue now that is coming before the court is: Are there circumstances in which it might be a violation of a person’s right to life, liberty and security of person to send that person away from a place where he has lived most of his life?”

Waldman, who is based in Toronto, said he has been inundated with calls from people living in Canada for decades who now find themselves in a similar situation to Revell and Van Heest.

“What they’ve done is they have significantly increased the number of long-term permanent residents that are being deported because the threshold now is so low,” he said. “It has had a fairly dramatic impact and that’s why we are seeing such a large number of cases now moving forward.”

Source: The Deported: Hundreds of B.C. criminals without citizenship shipped out | Vancouver Sun

Why are so many Hungarians deported? A look at Canada’s ‘Unwelcome Index’ 

The Globe continues to impress me with some of its serious evidence-based reporting (e.g., unfounded sexual assault cases by police department) with this being another good example of reporting by obtaining and analyzing data and explaining what it means:

The U.S. government’s determined efforts to restrict immigration and the number of refugees entering the country has invited comparisons with Canada, heralded by some (including The Economist) as a last bastion of openness among Western countries. But Canada has its own apparatus for ejecting the unwelcome; the Canada Border Services Agency is charged with removing people who don’t meet entry requirements.

To understand who Canada deports, and why, The Globe and Mail requested data from CBSA showing total removals by year, broken out by citizenship, the destination to which the person was sent and justifications for these removals. The data shows Canada removed Hungarian citizens in disproportionate numbers over the past few years. The story of those thousands of unwelcome people contrasts with international perceptions of Canada’s warm embrace of foreigners.


The unwelcome

The CBSA ejects thousands of people annually. However, the data doesn’t reveal much about why those people were removed: By far the most common official justification was “non-compliance,” a sweeping category. Fewer than 10 per cent of removals cited criminality, the second most common justification.

A clearer picture emerges when one examines the citizenship of removed persons: Hungarians topped the removals list during the five-year period from 2012 to 2016.

It is perhaps unsurprising to discover large numbers of Americans and Chinese on the list: Both countries rank among the world’s most populous, and the United States and Canada share the world’s longest border between two countries. Mexico has been a major source of immigrants, and also refugee claimants: The government of prime minister Stephen Harper responded in the late 2000s by imposing new visa requirements on Mexican visitors; removals surged.

Hungary is less populous than those countries, and distant to boot. What gives?

Hungary stands out even more when one compares numbers of removals with numbers of people of the same citizenship accepted as permanent residents. The result is a crude sort of “Unwelcome Index.” Between 2011 and 2015, more than three removal orders were issued for every Hungarian granted permanent-resident status.


Backstory of an exodus

Most Hungarians removed during this period were Roma, explained Sean Rehaag, an associate professor at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto who specializes in immigration law. Studying a random sample of 96 decisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board between 2008 and 2012 involving Hungarian claimants, Mr. Rehaag and his colleagues found 85 per cent involved Roma.

Roma comprise Hungary’s largest ethnic minority. There, they encounter “discrimination and exclusion on a regular basis” concerning education, employment, housing, health and much else, according to a 2014 report by Harvard University’s François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights. The late 2000s witnessed the rise of right-wing political parties and paramilitaries, accompanied by increasing rhetoric, rallies and attacks directed at Roma. Many Roma sought asylum abroad; thousands arrived in Canada after it lifted visa requirements on Hungarians in 2008.

Gina Csanyi-Robah, a teacher and human-rights activist with Hungarian Roma roots met many applicants in her capacity as executive director of the Roma Community Centre in Toronto, and also at Toronto schools. They fled Hungary because they were “scared that their home was going to be burned down,” Ms. Csanyi-Robah said. “Tired of their children getting beaten up at school and put into segregated classes. Tired of being subjected to verbal, psychological, physical violence when they left their homes.”

 Source: Why are so many Hungarians deported? A look at Canada’s ‘Unwelcome Index’ – The Globe and Mail

About 1,400 immigrants a year ordered removed from Canada for residency non-compliance

While the number is relatively small compared to the average 260,000 immigrants (0.5 percent), it is nevertheless significant and part of ensuring overall credibility and support for immigration, another legacy of the Conservative government that should continue.

Hard to understand the regional differences between Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. Do these represent the different source countries or are there some CBSA management differences?:

An average of about 1,400 Canadian immigrants are intercepted at the border each year and ordered removed from the country for not fulfilling their residency obligations, the Star has learned.

Although these newcomers can appeal to a tribunal to restore their permanent resident status under humanitarian considerations, only one in 10 succeeds in the process, according to government data.

“The tribunal is supposed to be immigrants’ last resort as the Parliament has given it the discretionary power to give immigrants a second chance if they breach the law,” said immigration lawyer Lawrence Wong, who obtained the data through an access to information request.

“But that second chance in reality is hard to come by. The national sentiment is pretty much the same. If you are an immigrant, don’t make a mistake. If you do, we want to see you kicked out.”

It’s believed to be the first time data about the loss of permanent residency at ports of entry has been made public, revealing the extent of residency noncompliance among immigrants trying to get back to Canada after lengthy stays overseas, said Wong.

Canada’s immigration law requires permanent residents to be physically present in Canada for at least 730 days in every five-year period in order to maintain their status. Otherwise, their residency will be revoked.

According to the Canada Border Services Agency, on average 1,423 permanent residents a year were stopped at the border for failing the requirement from 2010 to 2014, the most recent statistics available. During the period, Canada accepted some 260,000 newcomers annually.

The number of removal orders issued against these individuals had risen sharply to 1,413 in 2014 from 605 in 2008, when former Conservative Immigration Minister Jason Kenney took over the department and cracked down on fraud.

Across Canada, Quebec had the highest detection rate; more than a third of the removal orders were issued in the province against the non-compliant immigrants returning to Canada.

Between 2008 and 2014, a total of 3,575 immigrants were slapped with removal orders for residency non-compliance at Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport in Montreal, dwarfing the 439 and 972 people respectively intercepted at Toronto’s Pearson airport and the Vancouver International Airport.

The numbers do not include those who had their permanent residency revoked due to criminality and misrepresentation, who were refused travel documents to return to Canada or who applied to voluntarily relinquish their permanent residence.

While all these immigrants who lost their status can appeal to the immigration appeal division based on errors in law or humanitarian and compassionate grounds such as hardship from separation with family in Canada, the border services agency data show their success rate hovers at about 10 per cent — and has declined in the past few years.

Those who successfully restored their permanent resident status dropped significantly from 127 or 17 per cent of 746 appellants in 2008 to 78 or 7.7 per cent of 1,008 people in 2014.

“Once you are issued a removal order, the chances of saving your permanent status are really very limited,” said Wong.

 Source: About 1,400 immigrants a year ordered removed from Canada for residency non-compliance | Toronto Star