Ottawa-born Deepan Budlakoti will challenge decision that leaves him stateless
Ottawa – Unceded, Unsurrendered Algonquin Land, 10 September 2014 – A shocking and deplorable decision handed down yesterday by Justice Phelan of the Federal Court claims that the stripping of Deepan Budlakoti’s citizenship is consistent with the laws of Canada. At the age of 21, Budlakoti, who was born in Ottawa, was suddenly informed that he was not a citizen. This resulted in his inability to hold a job, access health care, or receive other benefits of citizenship. Justice Phelan claims that this process of denationalization is not an infringement of Deepan’s charter rights (s. 6 & 7).
“Obviously, I will appeal,” said Deepan Budlakoti. “I refuse to be exiled from my homeland, to be made an outcast in my own society. This case is important for everyone in Canada, it sets a precedent that we should all be worried about.”
“Once again I urge you to use your discretion to permit Mr. Budlakoti to remain in Canada, to stop his deportation to India and restore his citizenship.”
- Hassan Yussuf, President of CLC, 3 September 2014
Download full letter here.
Is Bill C-24 strengthening Canadian citizenship?
23 August 2014, Tobi Moorsom, Al Jazeera
When I first met Deepan Budlakoti in October 2013 he was clearly exhausted. He had just come off an 18-hour shift as a tow-truck driver. He had been working 90 to 100 hours a week, in part to help pay the legal expenses for his court challenge against the Canadian government, now totalling $50,000.
While Deepan was serving three years in prison for drug and firearms charges, a racial-profiling prison guard brought him to the attention of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The CBSA then determined he should be deported to India, a country he has never been to. The Harper government is hoping to make banishment a more regular activity now that their Bill C-24″Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act” has become law. The bill raises the bar for acquiring citizenship and allows it to be revoked by a parliamentary minister, with no possible appeal in court.
Deepan currently lives under house arrest while the government plan his deportation to a country that understandably refuses to accept him because he has never lived there. Since we met in October, he also lost his job and today lives solely from the support of others.
“… We are concerned, Minister, that in the face of this evidence, Canada’s position of refusing to recognize Mr. Budlakoti’s Canadian citizenship runs counter to the country’s international human rights obligations with respect to statelessness and leads to other related human rights violations. We therefore urge you to move immediately to restore or recognize Deepan Budlakoti’s Canadian citizenship.”
- Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada, 18 August 2014
Read full letter here.
Join Justice For Deepan Budlakoti at the Peoples Social Forum – Forum social des peuples for a panel discussion with:
- Deepan Budlakoti, stateless in the country he was born in
- Stacy Douglas, Justice For Deepan Support Committee and a professor in law
- Yavar Hameed, part of Deepan’s legal team specializes in the protection and advocacy of human rights and civil Liberties
The panel will be held on Thursday, August 21 at 10:45am in the Fauteux building, Room 133 on the University of Ottawa campus.
The room is wheelchair accessible. For other accessibility needs (whisper translation, childcare, transcription, etc), please contact email@example.com.
Help us spread the word! If you have friends and comrades that are attending the PSF, please invite them to this event. We want to see all of you!
Muna Mire, Vice Magazine,13 August 2014
Deepan Budlakoti has been living a nightmare for the last four years. Stripped of his status as a Canadian citizen, despite being born in Canada as the son of former Indian diplomats, he has a current charter challenge before federal court in Ottawa. His case is likely being closely watched by Immigration Minister Chris Alexander and the Conservatives to set a precedent, or at least the tone for the conversation on the controversial measures put forward in Bill C-24. Bill C-24, which passed at the end of June, is ironically also known as the “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act.”
There are already at least two constitutional challenges to the new law, which has come under fire from critics because it grants the immigration minister a wide berth to strip Canadians of their citizenship. Depending on who you ask, Budlakoti was either stripped of his status because he committed a crime-—or because he never should have been issued papers in the first place.
The Daily GRRR!, 17 July 2014, The In/Security Edition
“Welcome, I am your host Rachel Avery and you are listening to The Daily GRRR! In/Security Edition on 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario, soundfm.ca on the web. Today is July 17, 2014.
We are broadcasting from the centre of the Haldimand Tract, the occupied Grand River Territory of the Six Nations (Haudenosaunee).
The Daily GRRR! is a project of the Grand River Media Collective; and is supported by the Community Radio Fund of Canada and CKMS.
Feature: A new interview with Deepan Budlakoti, talking about his case where despite holding only Canadian citizenship and having lived in the country his entire life, the Harper government is seeking to deport him. Deepan also discusses Bill C-24 and the reality of double punishment facing migrants in the criminal justice system. …”
Deepan and his committee and supporters are still waiting for the Federal Court to rule on his motion, heard on June 16th. If successful, the motion will force the Canadian government to admit that their actions violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and caused Deepan undue hardship. It would also force the government to recognize Deepan as a Canadian citizen.
The ruling is expected in the following month, possibly not until September. We’ll keep you posted!