Dozens dupe Indian airline, enter Canada
Canada threatens ban as travellers with fake ID seek refugee status
Feb 03, 2009 04:30 AM
SOUTH ASIA BUREAU
NEW DELHI – Transport Canada officials recently warned India's largest privately owned commercial airline it would be barred from operating flights to Canada if its reservation agents didn't do a better job detecting passengers travelling on bogus passports.
Agents for Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Canada Border Service Agency have discovered dozens of Jet Airways passengers arriving at Toronto's Pearson International Airport with fake travel documents in recent months, five sources familiar with the matter told the Star.
In most cases, a person with an extensive international travel history applied for and received a legitimate Canadian visa.
The photo page of their Indian passport was then replaced with a doctored one and used by a different person.
It's unclear how many people were involved in the scam, but Canadian immigration officials believe several dozen have slipped into the country with the fake Indian passports in the past year.
Passengers involved in the scam have applied for refugee status after their arrival in Toronto, and remain in Canada.
Under Canadian immigration law, most people who arrive at a port of entry are entitled to make a claim for refugee status.
Investigators involved in rooting out the scam said reservations for Canadian hotels were made over the Internet and a printout was produced to show border agents in Toronto.
"The hotels were a good tipoff," one immigration investigator told the Star. "The reservations were all at hotels on the airport strip in Mississauga.
"If you're spending all that money to travel around the world and come to Canada in November, why would you book a reservation for two weeks on the airport strip?"
Border agents detected the first fake Indian passport they believe was connected to the scheme in February 2008.
Even as authorities seem to have solved the problem with Jet, fraudsters are trying new tactics. Two weeks ago, a passenger with a fake Indian passport was stopped during a layover on a Toronto-bound Kuwait Airlines flight from Hyderabad, India, a source told the Star.
Recently, police in the town of Moga, Punjab, arrested two brothers who ran a travel agency for allegedly making a pair of passports with different names for a woman who sought to travel to Canada, the Hindustan Times reported.
Fraudsters operating out of Punjab, Province. Didn't see that coming.
Notice how the fraudsters made refugee claims upon arrival. This is a standard tactic because of the Singh decision of 1985. Basically, this decision allows anyone from anywhere (including countries like the U.S., France, Denmark, Japan, and Switzerland) to make a refugee claim at any of Canada's ports of entry becuase a judge ruled that Charter protection and guarantees extends to them as well (except the right to vote) even though they are not Canadian citizens. What this means is that a refugee claimant has every right, protection, and guarantee (like social services, full health care coverage, access to grants and loans, the right to work) as any Canadian except the right to vote. Also, one can obtain eventual Canadian citizenship via the refugee stream even in the absence of pertinent language skills or job skills. You can see now why Canada is an attractive target for refugee fraud.
Ever since the Singh decision Canada has become the immigrant con artists target of choice becuase of the abusable nature of the refugee system. Because of this Canada has been flooded by "self selecting immigrants", economic migrants posing as bogus refugees, all for the purposes of immigration. It is likely that more economic migrants have entered Canada as refugees than legitimate refugees.
The solution to this, as critics have pointed out, is for the government to invoke the notwithstanding clause contained in the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms and revoke the Singh Decision.
Also, any bogus refugee caught using fake documents should be sent back on the air service that brought them here at the airline's expense.
Also, bogus refugees should be fingerprinted in case they try to dupe Canadians again.
What does it say about these people who willingly try to cheat Canada's immigration system and play Canadians for fools for their own selfish purposes? Are these the kinds of immigrants Canada is attracting? Do these people deserve Canadian citizenship?