Immigration Minister Jason Kenney last week introduced legislation to speed up the deportation of foreign criminals from Canada. Under current laws, some refugee claimants who have been convicted of crimes have been able to delay their deportation for years through repeated appeals of removal orders, while receiving welfare and other government benefits during their time in Canada.
The new legislation, the ‘Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act’, would:
- eliminate the right of convicted criminals who have been sentenced to more than six months in prison to file an appeal of a removal order to the Immigration Appeal Division
- eliminate the right of foreign nationals who have been found by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada to have committed serious security, human rights, and international rights violations, or had involvement with organized crime, to appeal for refugee status under “Humanitarian and Compassionate” provisions
- make foreign nationals who have family members who have been found by the federal government to be inadmissible to visit Canada on grounds of security, human or international rights violations, or organized criminality, also inadmissible to visit Canada, even if travelling without that family member
The legislation would also give the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration the discretion to wave inadmissibility restrictions for an individual, and to deny temporary resident status to foreign nationals who have not been found inadmissible to visit Canada due to security, human or international rights violations, or organized criminality, based on public policy considerations.
In 2010, the Conservative government attempted to prevent George Galloway, an anti-war British MP, from entering Canada, based on accusations that he supported terrorism. The discretionary powers granted by the new legislation would codify the ability of the federal government to prevent particular foreign nationals who meet all legislated eligibility requirements for visiting Canada from entering the country.