The Conservatives say the government’s public list of individuals wanted for deportation is working, with 30 per cent on the list already apprehended.
The federal government has also added 30 new profiles of individuals to the wanted list by the Canadian Border Services Agency and added new categories for inadmissibility on the grounds of security risk, organized criminality and individuals convicted or wanted for serious crimes in other countries. Announcements were made on Wednesday morning in Montreal by Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and in Toronto by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.
“It’s a good number,” said Mr. Toews, saying he was pleased with the volume of calls to CBSA’s hotline. “The message we are hearing loud and clear is that the time has come to put our feet down and end the abuse of our immigration system.”
But the publication of this list has been criticized by Amnesty International Canada and some immigration lawyers, such as Lorne Waldman.
His client Arshad Muhammad was arrested within two days of being put on the list. After Mr. Muhammad’s name was posted online, Pakistani media widely reported the incident, including his alleged links to a terrorist group, which resulted in his family in Pakistan receiving death threats, Mr. Waldman said.
“If the purpose of this policy is to deport such people, then publicizing it is counterproductive, because we can’t send people back who are at-risk of torture,” Mr. Waldman said. “This is just the Conservatives pushing forward their message that they are tough on crime.”
Last summer, Mr. Toews and Mr. Kenney announced a campaign by CBSA to help track down people in Canada wanted for deportation. The initial list published in July identified suspected war criminals believed to be living in Canada and a second list released in August named foreign nationals wanted after convictions of serious crimes in Canada. The additional categories added Wednesday means all of CBSA’s priorities for removals are now covered, Mr. Toews explained.
As a result of the list, 15 individuals in Canada and four individuals abroad have been located, CBSA said. The agency also removed seven of these individuals from Canada. The latest, Mr. Toews said, is Tharmapaskaran Sellathamby who was apprehended by Toronto Police on Tuesday.
That being said, CBSA president Luc Portelance said the numbers represent a small portion of thr work his agency does. CBSA officers execute roughly 3,000 warrants a year for those who have violated immigration laws or refused to leave the country. More than 15,000 people were deported last year, including 1,800 for “association to criminality.”