Paraplegic Deportee In Canadian Custody

Paraplegic deportee in Canadian custody

Published: Jan. 14, 2009 at 6:45 PM

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan. 14 (UPI) — A wheelchair-bound deportee was taken into custody in Canada Wednesday after skipping a deportation flight to Britain, authorities said.

Paraplegic Chris Mason, 36, was arrested by border agents at a friend's house, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Canadian immigration officials denied Mason's request to stay in Winnipeg on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, but he missed his deportation flight Tuesday.

“It feels like I'm an inmate on death row,” Mason told CBC News just before his arrest. “If the worst-case scenario happens, I don't want to beg. You know what I mean? I want to come here and be a proud Canadian.”

Mason hasn't lived in the United Kingdom since he was a child. At one time he lived with his father in Greece and came to Canada in 2001.

He worked as a truck driver until left paralyzed by a workplace accident a year later. Another accident last year left him unable to work.

His visa expired more than two years ago and he collects social assistance benefits. Immigration officials have ruled he is an undue burden on the economy and has refused him permanent resident status, the CBC said.

A judge will now set a new date for his deportation and decide whether he will remain in custody until then.