Cessation law ensnaring too many legitimate refugees says NDP

The NDP says a law aimed at targeting bogus asylum seekers is ensnaring innocent refugees who face the loss of permanent resident status for visiting home.

"I have nobody in Iraq,' says refugee who's at risk of being sent home after living in Canada six years

Roni Khoshaba (far right) could be sent back to Iraq after visiting his badly injured father in 2013. (Daniel Beauparlant/CBC)

The case of Roni Khoshaba is one reason the NDP is calling upon the Liberal government to repeal the cessation provisions of Bill C-31 brought in by the Conservative government in 2012 to crack down on bogus asylum seekers.

Khoshaba came to Canada as a refugee from Iraq in 2010, and was resettled through a Christian church sponsorship program. 

When a bad accident left his father with a broken leg and back in 2013, Khoshaba returned to Iraq to visit, he figured for the last time.

But now that trip has triggered an application from the Canada Border Services Agency to strip him of his refugee status and his permanent Canadian residency. 

"I visited three weeks. I come back to Canada. I'm working full time." said Khoshaba. "I have nobody in Iraq right now. All my family is in Turkey."

It's a situation his immigration lawyer Laura Best calls absurd.

"The fact that Christians in Iraq are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world is irrelevant to CBSA," she said, noting that Khoshaba's family has all fled to Turkey. 

Jenny Kwan,the NDP critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship, says many refugees who have traveled home for legitimate or family reasons are being unfairly caught up in the C-31 cessation provisions.

"In many cases these are people who have been here for a long time. Some have Canadian children. They are established. They have jobs," said Kwan at a Vancouver news conference.

"With this law, [refugees] can be returned to a home county which is still a high-risk country that the refugees left because it was unsafe," she said. 

"We're asking Mr. McCallum and the Liberal government to repeal provisions of Bill C-31 specifically relating to what is known as cessation."

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