Removing young refugees like Ismael Azadi from Canada does little, if anything to make the country safer in any tangible way.
As I wrote in today’s Winnipeg Sun, Azadi, 24, is fighting the administrative tool (some would call it a hammer) by which the federal government can remove him, known as a “danger opinion.”
Azadi, as a refugee under the Geneva Convention, can only be kicked out through the use of this process, which is laborious, expensive and almost always triggers a legal battle that clogs up the federal court and immigration systems.
In Feb 2011, Azadi was declared inadmissible to remain in Canada (He arrived here with his family from Iraq in December 2001) under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act on the grounds of “serious criminality.”
“Serious criminality” in Azadi’s case constitutes his participation with a group of others in two separate weaponless robberies years ago where nobody got hurt and for admitting some rocks of crack cocaine found on him ($200 worth, 2.75 grams) were meant for sale.
Described in the parlance of law-enforcement officials: In terms of Azadi’s crimes, “serious harm was deemed not to be met.”
The government even admits his history with the law is “limited.”
Azadi is not gang-involved, pleaded guilty to his charges and served his time without any real issue.
Immigration officials are unsure which country (Iran or Iraq) he’ll be returned to, but have determined he faces no real risk of persecution or harm in either of the two — both countries with very poor human rights records and noted for their poor historical treatment of the Kurdish people, of whom Azadi is one.
That said, the situation in Iraq for the Kurds has improved somewhat in recent times.
How the government arrived at their conclusion he’s not at risk is really the crux of his current legal fight.
Lawyer David Matas says faulty conclusions were made based on information that was disclosed to the government (notes on his dad’s immigration file relating to his military history and a brother’s short-term involvement with the KDPI Youth Union).
But that file information was not shared with Azadi prior to being given his sole chance to contest the danger opinion before the government approved it.
Azadi was born and spent the first years of his life in an Iraqi refugee camp, where his family had lived for 20 years.
He has a supportive family, an education and the prospect of employment.
I get that he’s done wrong. I’m not in any way condoning his conduct and I’m no bleeding heart ‘hug-a-thugger.’
But Azadi was caught, admitted guilt and was punished accordingly under our Criminal Code.
According to the government, that apparently wasn’t enough to deter him, but we’ll never know because he likely won’t be given the chance to prove it (here anyways).
I get the sense that Azadi isn’t being kicked out because he poses so great a danger to you, I or anyone else in this great country.
(I can rattle off a laundry list of 14-year-old kids who are far more dangerous and violent when they’re on the streets and will continue to be dangerous all their lives).
I’m of the opinion the government is deporting Azadi simply because they can, not because it’s right to do it.
Comment from a Winnipeg Sun reader:
“Sam • 5 hours ago
- Ismael has 3 brothers older than him and 1 brother, 1 sister younger than him . His other brothers and sister are in sckool and have been working hard just like any other citizin of this country .as I know the family from close , his parents are old and mother even very sick because of him . His family are very proud to live in Canada and be a part of this country . Now we agree if any 1 breaks law must be punishit by the law … Having said that we must also mention what else have this kid has done in this country other than his crime …. He was 13 years old when he came to Canada and was studing and very respectful person in person ! Ismael was still young when he got in to all this trouble , and it all started from high sckool and hanging out with the wrong crew. So sometimes we just put the bad images out there . I’m sure Ismael is very ashamed of his crimes and have learned his lessons and deserves a seconed chance … When his family visiting him in jail he puts his head down and so ashamed of him self and says sorry to his parents for puting them in a such unhappy life for past few years . Ismael have been in jail for a few years and some people have been to jail repeatedly for bigger crimes and they get out and live in Canada just because they have the citizen !!!!
Again imagine coming from a refugee camp no education, no work, no water or food , hot weather and no ac , and cold no heater , and no human rights. Much much more . Sometimes these kind of life can effect on peoples life . And am not gonna reapet everything again or write more but every 1 dezerves a second chance.”