Skip to main content

Canada Border Services Agency agents take a member of the ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect Lev Tahor into custody in Chatham, Ont., on April 2, 2014.

Ashton Patis/BlackburnNews.com/The Canadian Press

A lawyer for the ultra-Orthodox Lev Tahor community says an immigration crackdown at the sect's Chatham, Ont., community was an unnecessary intrusion timed to disrupt the group's preparations for an important court appeal on Friday.

"Someone made a call knowing full well this would derail the community two days before a huge appeal," Guidy Mamann said. "It looks like they wanted us to wobble into the court on one leg."

Canadian Border Services Agency agents flooded the community on Wednesday holding arrest warrants for seven members on suspected immigration lapses and deportation orders. They detained five of those named in the warrants, as well as U.S. citizen who did not have documentation to uphold his claim to visitor status, according to Mr. Mamann. The man opted to return to the United States rather than face an immigration hearing.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Mamann is negotiating for the remaining two members to meet with immigration officials in the coming days.

Of the five detained, two were released. The remaining three will face immigration board hearings in Toronto on Friday morning – the same time the group is scheduled to appear in a Chatham courtroom to argue against a court order to apprehend 14 Lev Tahor children.

In the days before the bust, Mr. Mamann had been negotiating to have the seven people meet with immigration officials. He said he fell ill with the flu last Thursday, temporarily delaying the negotiations. Six days later, border services officials arrived at the group's Chatham enclave with local police and child-protection workers.

"I guess somebody lost patience and decided to go through with the operation on Wednesday," Mr. Mamann said. "If they would have waited a day or so, none of this would have been necessary. I don't agree they needed to spend the resources they did on this."

The CBSA declined to comment on the matter.

The 10 a.m. raid took place at the same hour that the group's leaders were away in Toronto meeting with immigration officials. On Friday morning, the group is scheduled to appeal a court order originating in Quebec for the apprehension of 14 Lev Tahor children stemming from allegations of poor hygiene and insufficient education standards.

The group moved from Quebec to Ontario to avoid the order, but an Ontario judge endorsed the apprehension directive in February.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter