Canadian-born man facing deportation; Immigration Canada says he’s not a citizen

Omar Sachedina, CTV, 5 July 2013


A Canadian-born man is fighting to stay in the country as he faces the prospect of deportation to India by the Canadian government after serving time for weapons and drug trafficking.

Deepan Budlakoti, 23, has lived his entire life in Canada, but for months he has been caught in what he calls a bureaucratic nightmare after the Canadian government revoked his passport and issued a deportation order.

Budlakoti could be sent to India – a country he’s never set foot in.

“I don’t know no one there, I have no family there. I have no nothing there,” he told CTV News.

Budlakoti has an Ontario birth certificate and his passport indicated Ottawa as his birthplace – proof he said, that he is Canadian.

Budlakoti’s parents are from India and came to Canada to work as support staff at the Indian High Commission in Ottawa. According to the Immigration and Refugee Board, Budlakoti’s father was a foreign diplomat when his son was born.

By law, the children of foreign diplomats, even if born in Canada, do not automatically become Canadian citizens.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, his passport application “claimed incorrectly that he was a citizen” and that “he was convicted, and served significant jail time, for trafficking both weapons and drugs.”

While the Canadian government demands that he be deported, India doesn’t want him either.

“He is our responsibility. It is for us to attend to our responsibilities,” Budlakoti’s lawyer Peter Stieda told CTV News.

Sukanya Pillay, a director at the Civil Liberties Association, says Budlakoti may have a strong case to fight the deportation under international law.

“What constitutes one’s own country in international law doesn’t depend solely on citizenship and nationality, it depends on the country to which you have the most ties,” Pillay said.

Budlakoti says while he served his time and paid his debt to society, he regrets his criminal past.

“ I was doing stupid things,” he said. “I wish I could go back and change it but I can’t.”

He said now he is older and he is ready to move on with his life – in Canada.

“If your son was born in Canada and then getting deported to a different country he’s never been to, how would they feel,” he said.