Fighting deportation


Aaron L. Pope, Ottawa Star, 14 April 2014

Budlakoti_300pxIn 2009 Deepan Budlakoti would have been considered nothing more than a common criminal. An unstable family life coupled with questionable acquaintances led to his eventual arrest and trial.

No doubt he knew what he was doing was wrong and could land him in prison, but he couldn’t have guessed that he might be facing a punishment far more severe than a stay in the penitentiary.

“The Government of Canada is seeking to have Budlakoti deported based on his criminal past as well as the circumstances surrounding his birth,” said Alexis Pavlich, the press secretary for Citizenship and Immigration Canada. “This convicted criminal has never been a Canadian citizen. He should not have chosen a life of crime if he did not want to be deported from Canada.”

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Nation-wide banner drops in support of Deepan Budlakoti

Call on government to restore Deepan’s citizenship ahead of the Charter challenge


On Wednesday 9 April, 2014, in a strong demonstration of nation-wide solidarity, over 10 cities from coast to coast dropped banners in support of Deepan Budlakoti and his fight to have his citizenship restored. Communities from Ottawa, to Kingston, Guelph, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, St. Catherines, Toronto, Montreal, Halifax and Vancouver, dropped banners in solidarity with the Justice for Deepan campaign.

In May 2010, Deepan Budlakoti, a construction worker born in Ottawa, Canada, was informed by the government that his passport was issued to him in error.

“Although Deepan was born in Ottawa and has lived here his entire life, the government is trying to deport him to India”, said Lena McFarlane a member of the Justice for Deepan Support Committee. “Deepan has been rendered stateless by his own government – the government of Canada. She added, “the government’s actions are outrageous and inexcusable.”

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PHOTO ALBUM: National Banner-Drop Day

On April 9th, supporters of Deepan from Vancouver to Halifax dropped banners to support status for Deepan. Read press release here.


Ottawa. In Deepan Budlakoti’s hometown, Ottawa, concerned allies and friends of Deepan leafleted outside the Rideau Centre and unfurled a banner on the Mackenzie King bridge facing south bound traffic on Colonel By.  Support for Deepan and the struggle to reclaim citizenship, has been growing and gaining momentum in the community since the campaign began last year.



Banner Drop - CN Tower - 9 April 2014

Toronto. On the morning of April 9, 2014, members of No One Is Illegal – Toronto drop a banner over the Gardiner Expressway, demanding justice for Deepan and a stop to all deportations. The banner drop was one of many throughout Canada.


London. London says NO to the deportation of DeepanBudlakoti. Our banner drop is on the north side of the Wellington/York bridge. We believe the conditions enforced on Deepan are unjust and racist. This is violence enacted by the state. We demand that his citizenship be restored so that he can return to a life without fear or discrimination. We demand for his safety and his right to live his life. London is in solidarity with Deepan – NO MORE DEPORTATIONS.


York. OPIRG York is supporting the Justice for Deepan Campaign to end double punishment, stop Deepan’s Deportation and restore his citizenship. We acknowledge that citizenship is a flawed system that grants privileges to a select few and is a part of racist immigration and border policies designed to exploit and marginalize migrants, as well as denies the rights of Indigenous peoples, whose land we occupy and Canada continues to displace. OPIRG York stands in solidarity with Deepan’s struggle!


Montréal. Members of Solidarity Across Borders dropped a banner in support of our friend and comrade Deepan Budlakoti during morning rush hour over Berri street in downtown Montreal.



2014-04-09 08.26.54

Kitchener-Waterloo. In Kitchener, the Citizenship and Immigration Offices, located on Duke St W. seemed like a good spot to show our support for Deepan, and help raise awareness about his plight. The sign we placed in front of the building on Duke st has plenty of foot traffic, and car traffic. People started noticing the sign immediately. Being born in Canada, but facing deportation adds another level of injustice to an already racist and flawed citizenship and immigration policy. We call for an end to Deepan’s double punishment and a full restoration of his Canadian Citizenship. Justice for Deepan – Kitchener.


St. Catharines. In St. Catharines 5 of us demonstrated in front of MP, Rick Dykstra’s office – former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism. We demonstrated for a couple of hours, handing out postcards, stickers, and flyers letting people know about Deepan’s story. The cops were called on us once we stepped foot on their ‘private’ property, but after demonstrating we went into the office, where we were told Rick was in Ottawa and didn’t have an opinion on deportations and Deepan’s case – although they were familiar with it because they called him a convicted criminal. Deepan was generous enough to join some of us at the “Say No to Racism” conference at Brock University recently and we stand in solidarity with him and all others facing injustice from Canadian settler society. No one is illegal!


Guelph. Guelph mobilizers drop banner in solidarity with Deepan Budlakoti’s struggle against a racist and anti migrant Canadian state. We act against the injustice of the double punishment being faced by Deepan and the prisons and borders targeting racialized and lower income individuals all over Canada. We mobilize in solidarity with Deepan as he fights for the return of his full Canadian status.


Halifax. Halifax stands in solidarity with Deepan, calling for justice in his case and denouncing the double punishment he is currently facing.  His potential deportation to a country in which he’s never lived in is an attack on citizens and immigrants from coast to coast!




Vancouver. No One Is Illegal, Vancouver – Coast Salish Territories stands in solidarity with Deepan Budlakotin in his struggle for status and dignity. We fight alongside all migrant communities in resisting racist immigration policies and systems that exploit and dehumanize migrants. End to double punishment! Stop the deportations! Status for all!


Ottawa man facing deportation takes fight to UN

storage.canoe.caMegan Gillis, Ottawa Sun, 27 March 2014

Canada is violating international law by stripping an Ottawa-born man of his citizenship, according the civil rights watchdog representing Deepan Budlakoti in a complaint to the United Nations.

“He was born and raised and has spent his entire life in Canada,” argued Sukanya Pillay, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, who was in Ottawa for a forum on statelessness and citizenship at Carleton University Thursday.

“Citizenship is a birthright — it can’t be ousted in the way that’s happening in Deepan’s case.”

The government contends “this convicted criminal has never been a Canadian citizen” because Budlakoti’s parents worked for an Indian diplomat when he was born in 1989 – which the family and the former high commissioner deny.

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Deepan Budlakoti: Statelessness and Citizenship

yavar and deep2014 Colloquium of Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA)


Thursday, March 27th, 2014, 12 to 2pm
2017 Dunton Tower, Carleton University, Ottawa

**Light Refreshments to be Served

Deepan Budlakoti: Currently fighting deportation
Yavar Hameed: Lawyer for Mr. Budlakoti
Sukanya Pillay: General Counsel, CCLA
Stacy Douglas: Professor of Law, Carleton University

Moderator: Rebecca Schein, Professor of Human Rights, Carleton University

More information: | 416-363-0321 |

Sponsored  by:
Department of Law and Legal Studies
The Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies
Department of Sociology and Anthropology

Solidarity Across Borders Supports Deepan

Sab-Banner-croppedSolidarity Across Borders stands in solidarity with Deepan Budlakoti as he struggles for full status and respect in his homeland, Canada. …  Deepan Budlakoti’s struggle highlights in an extreme way the injustices of double punishment . ... The policy of double punishment is at the intersection of two violent systems in Canada: prisons and borders, a violent reality that Deepan knows all too well. People of color and poor people are first criminalized by the police and prison system, then they are then thrown out of the country if they do not have full status, forced to leave behind their families and communities. They are seen as disposable and undesirable in the eyes of the capitalist Canadian immigration system. … The fact that Deepan was born in Canada and grew up with a Canadian passport adds another layer to the injustice of double punishment. Deepan’s case is setting a worrying precedent in the context of recently proposed changes to citizenship laws in Canada. However, this is not a new or an isolated trend. The fact is, migrants and people of color have been and will continue to be targeted by racist immigration laws, and new immigration reforms and proposed citizenship reforms are just one terrifying realization of this targetting.  …”

Read full letter here.

Crimmigration: Criminalization and Detention of Non-Citizens in Canada

Tuesday, March 18 at 12:30pm
VIC 215, Old Vic College, 91 Charles St W, Toronto

A panel featuring:
–> Barbara Jackman: leading immigration/human rights lawyer, who has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in major national security and immigration law cases

–> Stephanie Silverman: Research Associate, Detention and Asylum Research Cluster, Refugee Research Network

–> Deepan Budlakoti: Canadian citizen and former detainee who is currently fighting deportation (see for more info)

–> No One is Illegal (Toronto): A migrant justice organization, fighting for an end to deportations and detention, and for status for all (see for more info)

Moderated by Audrey Macklin: U of T law professor specializing in immigration and refugee law, as well as administrative and criminal law.