By Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press on May 15, 2017.
TORONTO – Canada’s immigration regime allows for indefinite and arbitrary detention and is therefore unconstitutional, Federal Court heard Monday.
What’s needed is robust process and a legal limit on how long foreigners can be held when speedy deportation is unlikely to happen, court was told by lawyers for a Jamaican man who spent five years in custody.
“This is a case of the Canadian state depriving human beings of their most fundamental rights,” lawyer Jared Will said in his submissions. “Lengthy indefinite detention is contrary to the principles of fundamental justice.”
At issue are provisions in Canada’s immigration law that allow foreigners facing deportation to be detained – frequently under maximum security conditions – when the government considers them a flight risk, a danger to the public, or cannot confirm their identity.
The case being heard was launched by Alvin Brown, a mentally ill father of six who was deported to Jamaica last September. He had spent five years in detention as a danger to the public based on prior criminal convictions, mostly drug and weapons offences. Canada could not deport him until Jamaica issued a travel document.
While detention reviews must by law take place every 30 days, Brown’s lawyers told Judge Simon Fothergill that the process is stacked against detainees, and the reviews all…
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