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Evi Quaid becomes citizen, paving way for Randy to remain in Canada

Terry David Mulligan (L), actor Randy Quaid (C) holding his Vancouver Film Crtics Circle award, and his wife, Evi (R) showing off her government of Canada ID card during a press conference in Vancouver February 23, 2011.

JOHN LEHMANN/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

Four months after Randy Quaid's immigration odyssey began - a journey that featured tales of "star whackers" killing Hollywood celebrities for money - any chance the American actor would be kicked out of Canada appeared to fade to black.

The former Academy Award nominee and wife Evi announced Wednesday that she has received her Canadian citizenship and filed an application to sponsor her husband. Ms. Quaid proudly pinned her citizenship card to her lapel for a news conference in Vancouver, and donned an RCMP baseball cap.

The Canada Border Services Agency has also withdrawn admissibility proceedings against Mr. Quaid, paving the way for the couple to stay up north.

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"Today, we are here to say thank you to Canada. Thank you for your warm welcome, and thank you for giving us the opportunity to live in peace," said Mr. Quaid, who received an Oscar nod for his work in The Last Detail and has also appeared in Christmas Vacation, Brokeback Mountain and Days of Thunder.

The Quaids arrived in B.C. in October, fleeing what they called a "murderous ring" of accountants and other star whackers south of the border. They were picked up by border officials on outstanding U.S. warrants. They've been charged in California with causing more than $5,000 damage to a property they formerly owned.

Both filed refugee claims, but Ms. Quaid eventually dropped hers - she was able to acquire Canadian citizenship because her father was born in Canada. Mr. Quaid's refugee case remains active, though lawyer Catherine Sas said it would be dropped if the sponsorship application was accepted and Mr. Quaid was granted permanent residency status. She said the application could take up to a year to be approved.

Ms. Sas said her clients do not have any concerns about their safety in Canada.

The couple's past news conferences were nothing short of a media circus, but they didn't take questions Wednesday or say anything controversial.

Ms. Quaid said it felt "unbelievable" to be a Canadian. "I think I always knew I was. I think I'm a natural."

CBSA declined to specify why it withdrew proceedings regarding Mr. Quaid's admissibility to Canada. But John Shewfelt, the Quaids' other lawyer, said the case against the couple in California is not strong.

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Mr. Shewfelt played down any chance of extradition, but Santa Barbara district attorney Lee Carter said it could be possible. "We will explore whatever options are available to us to get the Quaids to return to our jurisdiction to face the pending criminal charges."

When the couple first arrived in B.C., Mr. Quaid said part of the reason they made the trip was to pick up an award he was issued in 2009 by the Vancouver Film Critics Circle. At the news conference Wednesday, wearing a grey suit, red and white shirt, and a large smile, Mr. Quaid accepted the award.

"I look forward to working on many exciting Canadian projects in the future," he said.

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