Randy Quaid says he loves America but because the actor says he fears being murdered by so-called "Hollywood Star Whackers," he wants Canada to grant him refugee status.
"I have nothing against my beloved America. I love my country and have been very, very happy there," the Oscar-nominated actor told reporters Wednesday as he and his wife, Evi, were released from detention after seven days in custody. They had been arrested on outstanding warrants in California.
During an emotional hearing last week, Mr. Quaid and his wife said they feared death in the United States so were seeking refugee status.
But on Wednesday, the 47-year-old Ms. Quaid was released because it turns out her father is Canadian so the Canada Border Services Agency has determined, according to an agency statement, that she is a "prima facie Canadian citizen." Mr. Quaid, 60, was released after he posted bond of $10,000.
Ms. Quaid, who referred to her father's Canadian roots during last week's hearing, professed her love for Canada Wednesday.
"Everybody has the same sense of humour as me. It's big. It's beautiful," she said.
Mr. Quaid was equally effusive.
"I come to Canada and the people have always embraced me warmly here. I have always enjoyed coming here," he said, standing by his wife and lawyer in the lobby of the federal complex where the couple made an appearance at a brief hearing.
"It's not a question of either or. I like this place. I like that place. I just want a place where I can work and enjoy my life and not feel that someone is always following me around and trying to steal from me."
Mr. Quaid, who is to appear at an admissibility hearing Thursday related to his ambitions to become a refugee, said he has "new options" ahead.
"I need to weigh everything," said Mr. Quaid, nominated for a best supporting actor Oscar for his work in the 1973 film, The Last Detail. His career has included work in films ranging from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation to Days of Thunder, Independence Day and Brokeback Mountain.
The couple's new lawyer, Catherine Sas, cut off further questioning on the couple's sensational allegations.
During their Friday hearing, the Quaids released a written statement declaring they feared being murdered in the United States by "Hollywood Star Whackers."
Ms. Quaid, during the hearing, referred to a number of actors including Heath Ledger, who died of natural causes, but whom Ms. Quaid said had been killed.
In an interview, Ms. Sas said she would need time for discussions with her clients on their claims.
"I haven't had an opportunity to fully canvas that. I know that they feel they have been persecuted and their safety is in question. I have not been able to review with them exactly why or how acutely or so on and so forth. They are very torn, you know. Americans love their country," she said. "We're going to sit down and talk about that and strategically figure out what is the best course of action."
The Quaids have been in custody since their arrest in Vancouver on Oct. 21 on outstanding arrest warrants. Mr. Quaid told the hearing they travelled to the Lower Mainland because he wanted to restart his career in Vancouver.
The couple have been dogged by legal troubles for skipping a court date over issues involving their former Santa Barbara home, and also have faced charges for allegedly defrauding an innkeeper in Montecito, Calif.
At a hearing last Friday, an official with the Immigration and Refugee Board ordered their release on $10,000 bond each and various reporting conditions. However, they remained in custody through to Wednesday. Ms. Quaid no longer needed to post bond after her status was determined this week.
Ms. Sas said the couple were doing okay despite being locked up. "I don't think that in the course of six days in our North American immigration detention system anybody is going to perish. It's just not a fun place to be. They get fed. They can sleep. They can do whatever."
Mr. Quaid is the older brother of actor Dennis Quaid. Over the weekend, a spokesman for Dennis Quaid's agent declined comment when asked by The Globe and Mail if the actor had anything to say about the case, indicating it was not their policy to comment on their clients' personal lives.
After their release, they went to pick up their dog, which has been at a city shelter since they were arrested. A spokesman for the city said, this week, that the dog was in good shape.