U.S. war resister living in B.C. given surprise deportation order

Today (July 8), American war resister Robin Long was told by the Canadian Border Services Agency that he would be deported to the U.S. by as early as Monday (July 14), according to the Council of Canadians.

This comes less than a week after a different U.S. war resister, Joshua Key, won a landmark victory in the Federal Court of Appeal overturning the rejection of his refugee claim.

According to a Council of Canadians media release, Long was taking part in “what was expected to be a routine detention hearing” when he was told that a “negative decision had been issued on his pre-removal risk assessment early May”.

In the release, the Council of Canadians claims that Long was not made aware of the negative decision on his pre-removal risk assessment until the July 8 hearing.

In a telephone interview with the Straight, the War Resisters Support Campaign’s Vancouver chapter coordinator called the CBSA’s actions “shocking and very sneaky”.

Sarah Bjorknas reiterated the claim by the Council of Canadians that neither Long nor any member of his legal team ever heard of the negative decision on the pre-removal risk assessment until July 8.

“This is not the process that they go through for other refugees when a decision is made on something as important as a pre-removal risk assessment,” Bjorknas said. “The individual is informed because they have the opportunity to appeal that decision.”

According to a CBSA fact sheet, a pre-removal risk assessment is “supposed to take place” when the CBSA is “ready to remove you from Canada”.

At that time, Citizenship and Immigration Canada decides if you should be removed from the country based on the criteria of “whether, at that time, you are a Convention refugee or a person in need of protection”.

The CBSA’s fact sheet goes on to state that if a person’s claim is denied by the CIC, that person has the right to “make an “application for leave” to the Federal Court to try and have the Court judicially review the PRRA decision”.

In the Council of Canadians’ release, the War Resisters Support Campaign’s Bob Ages stated: “This is the closest thing Canada has seen to Extraordinary Rendition since Maher Arar was spirited to Syria. This is a violation of every principle of natural justice.”

The CBSA did not return the Straight’s calls by deadline.

According to a July 7 CNW Group release, Long was arrested by police in Nelson, B.C. on July 4 on a warrant issued by CBSA.

On June 4, the House of Commons passed a motion that urged the Conservative government to allow deserters and their families to remain in Canada.

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1 Comments

Travis Lupick

Jul 9, 2008 at 2:47pm

On July 9, NDP MP <strong>Alex Atamanenko</strong>–who represents B.C. Southern Interior, the federal district where Robert Long is being held–issued the following media release:

ATAMANENKO CALLS FOR ROBIN LONG'S RELEASE IN WAKE OF FEDERAL COURT STAY FOR COREY GLASS

"With today's federal court ruling that another War Resister, Corey Glass, has been given an extended deferral to stay in Canada, there is no way that Mr. Long should be deported, especially if neither Mr. Long nor his lawyer were properly notified as to the Pre-removal Risk Assessment. This would be a violation of his legal right to appeal," stated Atamanenko.

Atamanenko stated Wednesday: "With a negative ruling on Mr. Long's Pre-removal Risk Assessment there is an even great need for the government to act on the will of Parliament and the Canadian people to let Mr. Long and other U.S. Iraq War Resisters stay in Canada."

Mr. Long's lawyer, Sheppard Moss, is seeking an emergency sitting of the Federal Court to ask for an immediate stay of his client's deportation, and will be filing papers this afternoon.

Atamanenko has been working for Mr. Long's release since first hearing of his detention Friday evening.

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