Deportation of Polish family

From: Paulette MacQuarrie
To: sunletters@pacpress.southam.ca [Vancouver Sun]
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2001 2:06 PM
Subject: letter to the editor

Dear Editor,

When our government starts to deport people born in this country, Canadians should start to question the agenda of the people in charge of our immigration and citizenship departments.

Your brief editorial in the May 17 edition entitled "Time to go" revealed that the government has decided to deport an "enterprising and law-abiding" Polish family (including two children born in Canada) because of a $50 bureaucratic foul-up. Unfortunately for Canadian tax-payers, our government has never taken responsibility for its own bureaucratic bungling, and this latest travesty of justice is no exception.

Nor is it unprecedented. Several naturalized Canadian senior citizens are about to be deported to Europe because our government says they "probably" lied about questions they were "probably" asked when they immigrated to Canada some 50 years ago. There is not a shred of evidence that they did, or were, or that they even committed a crime here or elsewhere. Nonetheless they will be deported.

It is obviously asking too much to expect common sense and decency from Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan and her department. They eagerly offer compassion and safe haven to swindlers who might be mistreated in a U.S. prison if convicted on state's evidence. They offer compassion and safe haven to drug traffickers deemed "a danger to the public" on the basis of ample evidence of criminal activity in Canada. They offer safe haven and compassion and financial support to illegal migrants.

But compassion and safe haven for productive and law-abiding Canadian citizens who happen to fall victim to the system? No way. Not even for those born in Canada--unless, perhaps, they have powerful friends in high places.

The rest of us, it appears, have good cause to worry.

Sincerely,
Paulette MacQuarrie