A new story in the National Post, one of Canada’s largest national newspapers, reports an expansion in the crackdown on citizenship fraud:
Normally, Ottawa revokes citizenship from only a handful of Canadians a year. Since 1947, it has happened fewer than 50 times. Recent cases include Nazi war criminals and Branko Rogan, who concealed his involvement in Bosnian war crimes from immigration authorities.
But in September, Jason Kenney, the minister of citizenship and immigration, announced his department had sent letters to 530 Canadians advising them their citizenship was being rescinded. Investigations into another 3,100 suspected of citizenship fraud were still underway, he said.
The article recounts the case of Mark Bilalov, who became a Canadian citizen in 2003 despite a criminal record. Shortly after receiving citizenship, Bilalov was charged for taking part in a home invasion in which the home’s occupant was struck in the head with 20-pound dumbbell until he handed over keys to his store and the combination to his safe.
The charges were later dropped but the case encouraged Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to ask the RCMP to look into how Bilalov became a citizen. The RCMP found that they had no knowledge of the convictions before his citizenship.
He has since been convicted on one charge of making a false statement to obtain his citizenship, and in 2011, was informed that his citizenship would be revoked based on the ommission of having a criminal record when applying for citizenship.
Bilalov is currently fighting the decision in court, where his lawyer has argued it is unfair to revoke his citizenship due to the time that has passed since he committed the fraud on his application.
Cases like Bilalov’s have increased public support for the citizenship revocations, which appears will continue for the forseeable future.