Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is calling a Federal Court ruling that denied citizenship to a Montreal man who lied about where he lived in Canada "an unmitigated victory for the rule of law."
In a Federal Court decision released last week, Judge Francois Lemieux dismissed Syrian immigrant Nasoh Raslan's appeal of a citizenship court ruling that denied him full status in Canada. Judge Lemieux found that Mr. Raslan "knowingly and willingly embarked on a course of conduct to deceive the citizenship court concerning his true residence in Canada -- and this for the purpose of jumping the queue."
It feels good to read these kinds of stories. It's nice to know that someone out there takes Canada's sovereignty seriously (and yes immigration is a sovereignty issue).
There's more to the story.
Mr. Raslan, who lived in Montreal, told a citizenship court in Mississauga, Ont., that he lived in an apartment in the Toronto suburb. But a citizenship officer noted that Mr. Raslan had offered two different apartment numbers for his address on two separate documents. Further investigation revealed that Mr. Raslan's home phone number had been used by 62 other citizenship applicants and his mailing address had been used by 127 applicants. When Mr. Raslan appeared before a citizenship judge in October 2008, he maintained that he lived at the Mississauga address and presented a lease agreement to support his claim.
The citizenship judge, however, ruled that Mr. Raslan was not credible and had not met the necessary residency requirement. Applicants must establish that they have lived in Canada for at least three out of four years before applying for citizenship. In his Federal Court appeal, Mr. Raslan said he had lied about his address on the advice of an immigration consultant, who told him that his application would be processed faster in Mississauga than in Montreal.
Who are these immigration consultants who coach their clients to lie to obtain Canadian citizenship? Standing on guard for thee? Apparently not but should it come as a surprise that an immigration consultant behaved this way? Time to rein the consultants in.
Mr. Raslan is a permanent resident of Canada yet has made three attempts to apply for Canadian citizenship and failed. Why is he still in the country if it seems he cannot obtain citizenship? Should he be deported? Maybe. Recall that 62 other applicants were using the same phone number and 127 applicants were claiming residency at the same address for the purposes of gaining citizenship through deception. Do they think we are we a nation of suckers? Honestly, I don't blame them.