Richard Cuthbertson's article appeared in the Calgary Herald today. Entitled "Jackie Tran: A Man Without a Country" the article speaks to issues beyond my client's current situation. I prefer the title, a man between countries, because strictly speaking, unlike other Vietnamese clients facing deportation who are 'stateless', Vietnam acknowledges Mr. Tran as a national. He is between two countries because he is not fully of either, and perhaps is to some degree a product of both. While he was born in Vietnam, his formative years were in Canada. Cuthbertson's piece, unlike most of the dialogue on this issue, is balanced.
I take issue with Kelly Sundberg's characterization of the immigration system as 'broken'. While I know Kelly personally, and have great respect for his background in this area (Kelly was formerly with the CBSA and is a professor at MRU) there is actually nothing broken with the system. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act - in effect since 2002 - is in fact an enforcement statute. Unlike the past, individuals sentenced to more than 2 years imprisonment for an offence are now denied an ability to appeal the removal order to the Immigration Appeal Division (I wonder what Kelly's thoughts are on the Immigration Act, which was replaced by the IRPA). As a result, we are already quite 'firm' with non-citizens in this country.
Also - the 2 year cut off was established by Parliament. Thus, any criticism of 'duplicative appeals' should be directed at the political system - not lawyers and not judges. While Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai wants Tran out (the "quicker the better") - presumably he was representing his constituents interests when the IRPA was debated in Parliament. Since he is part of the governing party, he should advise the public as to the reasons with respect to the delay in re-appointing members to the Immigration and Refugee Board. Perhaps politicians should shoulder some of the blame considering their complicity in manufacturing delays in the immigration system.
As it stands, the system strives to balance protection of the Canadian public with family reunification and other humanitarian and compassionate considerations. The system strives to be proportionate in addressing criminality by permanent residents.
Bear in mind, anyone who is facing deportation has already served time with respect to their underlying criminal offence. This type of double jeopardy is not allowed in the criminal justice system, and one wonders at the appropriateness of punishing certain individuals twice.