By Tom Godfrey, Toronto Sun
Ottawa is being accused of “harassing” immigrants who are now required to have their passports stamped on returning from abroad.
Toronto immigrant groups and lawyers said the port stamp, which contains a date, will be used to find out how long immigrants have been outside Canada. If the time abroad exceeds guidelines then the person can have permanent residency revoked or be denied citizenship.
“This is outrageous,” Immigration lawyer Mendel Green said yesterday. “This will mean people will … be harassed on their return home.” Other critics said the policy will lead to lengthy delays at land crossings.
Of course, with self-righteous indignation immigration lawyer Green-back$ would make this ‘outrageous’ statement that concerns possible future clients.
The tracking policy surfaced two weeks ago after officers at Pearson airport were sent a memo from Ottawa ordering the mandatory stamping of the passports.
Anna Pape, of the Canada Border Services Agency, said the stamping policy has always been in the rule book.
“The stamping of permanent residents’ passports upon entry to Canada is nothing new,” Pape said in a statement. “It ensures the effective delivery of immigration programs.”
She said the dates help officers determine if an immigrant should still be here, since a person has to live in Canada for two of the last five years to remain an immigrant.