Monday, November 26, 2012 | Categories: Episodes
Deporting permanent residents with criminal pasts - Mother of Saeed Jama
We started this segment with a clip from Saeed Ibrahim Jama. He spoke with us last week from the Edmonton Remand Centre while waiting to be deported to Somalia. He's never been to that country, doesn't speak Somali, and his only connection to the country is that it's the birthplace of his parents. He was born in Saudi Arabia and moved to Canada with her family in 2001.
Saeed Jama is a permanent resident of Canada -- he was raised in Alberta. But he's not a Canadian citizen. So when he was convicted of drug trafficking in Winnipeg as a teenager, the consequences were serious: a 2 year prison sentence, and now exile to an extremely dangerous land.
He was scheduled to be deported last July, but didn't show up at the airport. Police caught up with him in October and he's been in custody ever since. In the two years that Jama was out of prison, he volunteered at the Alberta Somali Community Centre in Edmonton. Farhaya Abshar manages the community center and got to know Jama. We aired a clip.
Late last week we spoke to Saeed Jama from the Edmonton Remand Centre. He was scheduled to be deported to Mogadishu, Somalia early this week. His mother, Khadro Mohamed, was in our Edmonton studio this morning.
We invited Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney to discuss this case. He was not available. But his press secretary did send us a statement that reads in part: "If this criminal did not want to face deportation upon his release from prison, he should not have chosen a life of violent crime."
Deporting permanent residents with criminal pasts - Bashir Ahmed
As hard as it is, Bashir Ahmed thinks it is ultimately a good idea to deport permanent residents with criminal pasts. He's the executive director of the Somali Canadian Education and Rural Development Organization and an active member of the Somali community in Edmonton. We reached him at his home this morning.
Deporting permanent residents with criminal pasts - Immigration Lawyer
It may soon be a lot easier to deport some foreign-born criminals. You can likely guess that from the subtitle of federal Bill C-43 -- The Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act - making its way through Parliament right now. It used to be that criminals - who were not Canadian citizens - had to do something serious enough to serve two years or more in prison to face deportation.
Under the new act, a six month sentence will be enough. We aired a clip with how Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney described the bill to the House of Commons earlier this fall.
Robin Seligman is a lawyer and immigration specialist in Toronto. She's also past chair of the Canadian Bar Associations' National Immigration section. She has concerns about Bill C43 and joined us in our studio.
This segment was produced by The Current's Jessica DeMello.
Other segment from today's show: