By
Andy Semotiuk

The Terrorist Label in Canadian Immigration Decisions

April 28, 2014

Toronto immigration lawyer Andy Semotiuk: I saw an interesting story today in the Toronto Star, under the provocative headline, In Canada’s immigration law, anyone can be a terrorist.

Well, maybe. In any event, a taste:

One elderly woman’s only political act was to stitch together uniforms for armed rebels in Ethiopia, then ruled by a murderous tyrant named Haile Mariam Mengistu.

Another man, now in his 60s, once donated the equivalent of $50 to the militant opposition in his country.

Yet another man used to act as an informal contact for foreign journalists who were seeking interviews with anti-government guerrillas in El Salvador.

None of these three people ever engaged in political violence themselves, and yet all of them – along with dozens and perhaps hundreds of others – face the threat of deportation on the grounds that they pose a security risk to the people of Canada, under a catch-all provision of this country’s immigration law that many lawyers decry as unfair and excessive.

“It’s an extreme overreaction,” says Ontario legal-aid lawyer Andrew Brouwer. “Their stories are so compelling. There’s not a single allegation of ever being involved in any kind of violence, much less a terrorist act.”

There are two aspects to this story. One is that anyone with some ties to a violent past could be blocked from immigrating to Canada as a “terrorist,” no matter how tenuous those ties might be.
The other is the time it takes to get a decision from Canadian immigration authorities.
In the first instance, who is and is not a terrorist can be hard to figure out. This is especially the case if you’re talking about events that happened decades ago, with little evidence to back up a claim either way.
If you think about it, terror is an unlawful means employed by an individual to accomplish an end. Maybe we would be better versed to call all of these terrorists “criminals,” since then we would be required to define what it is they did, which laws they broke, and perhaps whom they broke them with.
That’s the philosophical and semantic stuff. The more practical problem described in the article is the extremely long processing times of these applications.I currently have a case pending that involves a prominent doctor. He is being investigated as a possible security threat because he was from a certain country, and there are concerns about his connections to a former dictator. The dictator has been dead for years, yet this physician’s case is still under review. People mentioned in the article above appear to be facing the same challenges.


Andy Semotiuk is a Canadian and US immigration lawyer with immigration law firm Pace Law Firm. You can learn more about Andy at My Work Visa.

Share This Post
Email
Facebook
LinkedIn
Twitter
Trending Posts
Read More Insights
Events
By
Pace Law
Pace Law Firm is always looking to expand our business and elevate it to the next level. On Thursday November 24th, Pace Law Firm attended the Canadian Mortgage Summit (CMS) to hear from the industry’s top mortgage brokers, lenders and solution providers.
Firm News
By
Pace Law
We are proud to announce that Pace Law has become a multi-service firm and is launching a new website to accommodate our growth in different areas of law!
Events
By
Pace Law
The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation takes place on September 30th for the second consecutive year. Each year, September 30th marks both Orange Shirt Day and National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
Real Estate Law
By
Pace Law
In key Canadian cities, the housing inventory may reach a crisis stage, according to a recent analysis from RE/MAX Canada. The analysis confirms that governments must take quick action to address the critically low supply of available homes.
Personal Injury
By
Pace Law
As the winter months get closer, it is critical to plan ahead and take precautions as needed to reduce the likelihood of mishaps. Nearly 30% of all motor vehicle incidents, according to recent RCMP data, happened on slick, snowy, or icy roadways.
Real Estate Law
By
Pace Law
Two weeks after the provincial administration submitted Bill 109, the More Homes for Everyone Act, 2022, on March 30, 2022, it obtained royal assent on April 14. The last step needed for a legislative measure to become law is royal assent.

Get in Touch

Call us now or fill out the form to discuss your case with an experienced legal professional.

Our Locations

Office Location

191 The West Mall, Suite 1100
Toronto, ON M9C 5K8
Phone: 1-877-236-3060
Fax: 416-236-1809

Office Location

191 The West Mall, Suite 1100
Toronto, ON M9C 5K8
Phone: 1-877-236-3060
Fax: 416-236-1809

Scroll to Top