Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Immigration Minister to Look at Deportation Issue in Wake of Terror Arrest

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Immigration Minister to Look at Deportation Issue in Wake of Terror Arrest

Article excerpt

Immigration minister to review statelessness

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OTTAWA - Canada's immigration policy is being reviewed following revelations that one of the men charged in an alleged plot to attack a Via Rail train was ordered deported years ago -- but was never removed because he is a stateless Palestinian.

The federal immigration minister said Friday he wants to know what can be done when Canada wants to deport someone who has no home country.

"(I) am having a briefing with officials to see if there was any way to work to still remove someone like this who allegedly is stateless," Jason Kenney said.

In the briefing, he's likely to learn that Canada can and does deport people who are considered stateless.

Between 2003 and 2010, 352 of them were removed from Canada, according to government statistics published in a 2012 study commissioned by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

Sixty-seven others have been removed in the last two years, the Canadian Border Services Agency said Friday.

Being stateless means an individual can't be considered a citizen of any country, a legal limbo that can arise for a variety of reasons. It's considered a situation beyond the individual's control -- and one which Raed Jaser, one of the two men charged in the Via plot, has claimed applies in his case.

"I am a Palestinian by blood, that does not give me any rights whatsoever in my place of birth," Jaser told a deportation hearing in 2004.

The case of Palestinians is a unique among the estimated millions of stateless people in the world. While there is such a thing as a Palestinian passport, most countries do not recognize Palestine as a state and therefore its people are considered stateless.

Jaser's lawyer claimed he was never deported because the government couldn't figure out where to send him.

Immigration regulations concerning deportation make no allowances for those considered stateless so officials, theoretically, have several options: removal of a stateless person to the country from which he or she came to Canada, removal to the country of last permanent residence before coming to Canada, removal to the country of which the person is a national or to the country of birth. …

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