Immigrants Lying Low

Immigrants lying low

Last Updated: 6th November 2009, 3:35am

TORONTO — Almost 42,000 immigrants have gone underground and are being sought on warrants for deportation — one quarter of the 160,000 people who are in different stages of removal from Canada, according to just-released government documents.

And, more than half of those being removed are from the Toronto area, where more than 60% of all newcomers resettle when they move to Canada, immigration officials said.

Toronto Police Association officials are concerned because people facing deportation are desperate and will do anything to escape arrest.

“We are most concerned for our front-line officers,” association president Mike McCormack said yesterday. “This raises safety concerns since these people are desperate and want to avoid compliance.”

The association has had a lawsuit ongoing for 15 years against the department alleging negligence in the June 1994 shooting death of Toronto police Const. Todd Baylis by two-time deportee Clinton Gayle.

“It's been 15 years since Baylis was killed and it shows that very little has changed,” McCormack said, adding the association will petition Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to speed up deportations.

The August 2009 statistics were obtained from the Canada Border Services Agency by Quebec lawyer Richard Kurland and made available to the Toronto Sun.

The document said of the 160,000 offenders awaiting deportation, some 85,500 are awaiting a decision of their refugee appeals, 14,800 are appealing to the Federal Court of Canada and 17,800 are waiting for travel documents.

It said immigration officers are actively searching for 42,000 immigrants who have gone underground and are sought on warrants.