Ex-MP cries foul over alleged Calgary gangster's deportation stay
By Gwendolyn Richards
August 31, 2009
CALGARY—An alleged gangster is waiting to see if he will be released from custody following a stay on his deportation order, prompting one outraged former Conservative MP to claim the deportation system is soft on violent criminals.
Art Hanger, a former police officer who represented Calgary Northeast from 1993 to 2008, said the fact Jackie Tran a convicted criminal was granted another reprieve Saturday is “ludicrous” and proves the deportation system does not work.
“I find it appalling we have a system that is so twisted and broken,” Hanger said. “He must just be laughing at us, given he has a violent past.”
But the lawyer representing Tran said his client is simply following the process available to him under legislation that was tightened back in 2002.
Under the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, “serious criminals” those sentenced to two years or more in prison are not allowed to appeal their deportation orders, Raj Sharma said Sunday.
But Tran was sentenced to two years less a day for trafficking offences in 2000 and ordered to pay a fine for a 2002 assault, meaning his sentence was just 24 hours short of the legal benchmark for “serious crime.” In other words, he has the right to contest the removal order, Sharma said.
“Mr. Tran is not considered a serious criminal in the eyes of the law,” he said.
During immigration hearings, police said Tran, also known as Nghia Trong Nguyen-Tran, is a member of the FK gang, which has been locked in a violent and deadly war in the Calgary area with rivals FOB.
The war between the two gangs has resulted in at least 25 homicides since 2002.
Tran denies being a gang member but has said he has social connections with some FK members.
Tran remains in custody pending a detention review on Wednesday.
Sharma said he and his client are “cautiously optimistic” about the outcome.
“At the last detention review on Thursday, (officials) indicated if we got the stay, then removal would not be imminent and, obviously, we're anticipating a positive review on Wednesday,” he said.
On Saturday, Justice Yves de Montigny granted an emergency stay to Tran, halting the accused gang member's planned deportation.
The ruling allows Tran to stay in Canada while a decision is made on his judicial review. He was expected to be deported this week.
He was arrested Tuesday after allegedly failing to show up at the Canada Border Services Agency office for a scheduled meeting a violation of his release conditions.
Hanger said nothing has changed since his own battles in 1994 and 1995 against weak legislation.
“It still bungles along and ordinary people are not being protected from these foreign criminals,” he said.
Hanger also acknowledged the delays in the Tran case have kept him in Canada despite the fact a deportation order was issued originally in 2004.
Since April, the border services agency has had the authority to deport Tran after a decision by the Immigration Appeal Division dismissed his plea to stay in the country and upheld an earlier deportation order.
Tran is seeking a judicial review of that decision from the Federal Court of Canada.