Legal experts are warning that strict enforcement of Canada’s anti-terrorism laws may be entrapping innocent Canadian immigrants.
In what’s been described as an “extreme over-reaction” to terrorism concerns, a section of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) that was added after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 is being blamed for blocking the successful immigration of some innocent foreigners.
Though only 37-words long, the statutory addition to the IRPA bars admission to Canada to any person who has supported an organization “that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages, has engaged or will engage in” acts of subversion or terrorism.1 Some experts in Canadian immigration law believe that description is so broad—and vague—that if taken literally, any member of the British or American military could be barred for “seeking to subvert” the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Of more specific concern are examples of immigrants barred from Canada as a result of this law, including an elderly woman whose “crime” was stitching together uniforms for Ethiopian armed rebels, or another man in his 60s who once donated $50 to the militant opposition in his country.
Angus Grant, an attorney specializing in Canadian immigration, told the Toronto Star that “the breadth of the (terrorism) law is breathtaking” and termed the implementation of the IRPA law as “outrageous”.
Lawyers like Grant, familiar with Canada’s implementation of the IRPA anti-terrorism statute, also point out that Canadian government officials have shown little flexibility when considering requests for humanitarian or compassionate waivers of such deportations. In support of this belief, the Toronto Star cited a report by the Canadian Border Services Agency that showed an apparent spike in “security-related” deportations in recent years.
Another immigration attorney, Lorne Waldman, told The Star he believes the CIC case management review process for such deportations is flawed, since the CIC bureaucrats in the position of deciding the “security” cases are asked to rule on deportation decisions made by the very entity he or she works for—the CIC.
“(CIC) Minister-delegates are not independent because they are so close to those running the (ministry),” Waldman said. “It’s hardly surprising that most of the time the decisions reflect what the government wants.”