Ottawa will continue revoking citizenship of immigrants accused of misrepresentation

OTTAWA - Immigrants accused of misrepresenting themselves in order to get into the country will continue having their citizenship revoked, according to court documents sent Friday by the Justice Department.

Ottawa will not heed the demands of two civil society groups and impose a moratorium on its practice of citizenship revocation, said lawyer Angela Marinos, in a letter to the Federal Court.

The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) and the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL) launched a constitutional challenge to the federal law because they say there is no proper appeal process.

They argue the government should stop all citizenship revocation until the matter is settled in court. The government confirmed on Friday it won't be doing that.

"We are very disappointed that the government refuses to stop stripping people of citizenship without a hearing, choosing to defend the last government's unfair process in court instead," said BCCLA executive director Josh Paterson.

Marinos said in her letter that people who have their citizenship revoked have the right to file for judicial review of the government's decision.

Paterson said hiring lawyers are expensive and immigrants should have the right to a formal appeal process before losing their citizenship.

Immigration Minister John McCallum has in the past criticized the lack of an equitable appeal process, a policy put in place by the Conservative government.

He had also publicly supported the Senate's past efforts to modify the law.

Paterson said that McCallum "acknowledged that taking away a Canadian's citizenship is unfair and has committed to change it — but until the law changes, we don't understand why they insist on continuing to do the very thing they say is unfair."


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