Why Deport Jaskirat Singh Sidhu?

A federal judge has dismissed applications from the truck driver who caused the deadly Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan and was fighting deportation back to India.

Source: Federal judge dismisses latest bid to stay in Canada by trucker who caused Humboldt Broncos crash | CBC News

I find the practice of involuntary displacement (deportation) of Canadian residents for crimes committed to be unjust and cowardly regardless of the crime.

  • Firstly, the concept that the consequences you face for your actions as a resident of Canada depends on your papers is unjust. We would not be deporting a Canadian born citizen for any of their actions. See for example, Tenessa Nykirk. She hit someone who suffered serious injuries while speeding and texting, but she’s not going to deported. Deportation for offences committed is a holdover practice from citizenship laws that were enacted to act as gates especially for “undesirable” immigrants. Yes, I’m aware that Sidhu’s crime violated the Terms and Conditions of his residency, those T&Cs are unjust!
  • Secondly, I find the concept of outsourcing Sidhu’s longer-term rehabilitation and restitution for victims to another country to be cowardly. The problem happened in Canada, the victims were Canadian residents, and the restitution needs to happen here (how one family “forgave” Sidhu). He’s not “somebody else’s problem”.
Who is Local?
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Who is Local?

“Ahmadi is still months away from getting permanent resident status, putting him in the unlucky group of middle-class British Columbians who have found themselves targeted by a tax purportedly imposed to crack down on rich real estate speculators from overseas”

I’ve never been this hopeless

I would not call Hamed Ahmadi unlucky, he’s a victim of the all too common policy apparatus that confuses residency with visa status. The BC non-resident tax of 15% on properties is supposed to target “foreign” (read Chinese) investors buying in Vancouver with no intentions of living there. I presume there are multiple other ways to determine residency and “localness” for the purpose of determining who lives here and who does not. The BC government, in its haste to demonstrate it was doing something, took the easy route and used visa status as a proxy.

Hamed lives and works in BC, which meets my definition of local. While a speculation tax on non-residents is a reasonable approach, using visa status to determine residency, and providing no sensible exceptions for locals with alternative paper work is lazy and thoughtless policy making, so is not providing exceptions for people with home buying applications already in process. It’s almost as if someone looked at the polls and press and wrote the law in a day.

In many ways, this is personal for me because I lived in the US for 10+ years under various non-permanent visas that left me vulnerable to these poorly designed, thoughtless policy measures. I lived in the same town for 10 years, was very much a local by the time I’d left, with a stable set of friends, family, work, places I shopped in, hiked to, causes I supported, volunteer work I did, and more. So, Hamed’s story could have been mine, and in some smaller ways, was mine for other parts of my life.

“CTV News spoke with BC Liberal cabinet minister Andrew Wilkinson on Wednesday and asked several times for comment on Ahmadi’s situation. Wilkinson responded by repeating a piece of blanket advice for the people impacted. “Those who find themselves affected by the tax should seek legal advice because individual circumstances vary,” Wilkinson said.

This is typical of policy makers who are so removed from the day to day lives of the people whose behaviour they seek to regulate. The casual assumption that regular people can afford professionals who bill at multiple hundreds of dollars an hour speaks more about the types of people these ministers hang out with than anything else. But this sounds familiar too, I needed to consult lawyers multiple times to help me with immigration paper work.

As someone with a high level of institutional trust, and who thinks governments can affect our lives for the better with sound and thoughtful policy interventions, these types of hasty policy making are deeply disappointing. There are multiple other policy measures to make housing more affordable. The CCPA just released a comprehensive document of policies, focusing on the actual problem, the lack of affordable housing. Investment in affordable housing with a focus on cohousing and social housing, and zoning changes that reduce the protections afforded to affluent property owners would go a long way.

Originally posted on Interrobang 04-August-2016

Want a tougher Canadian Refugee Policy? Read this

Deported to torture –

The memories aren’t all good. The country the Benhmudas love is also the country that rejected them as refugees. In 2008, the Canadian government deported the family back to Libya — even though the two youngest boys, Adam and Omar, are Canadian citizens by birth.

For the boys’ father, it meant being deported to torture.

Adel Benhmuda, now 43, says he was detained on arrival at Tripoli’s airport and taken to the notorious Ain Zara prison on the outskirts of the Libyan capital. For a total of six months, during two separate periods of detention, he says he was repeatedly beaten.

Note that the tougher it is for refugees to prove their case, the more likely it is that some will be sent back for further persecution.


Indian Workers on Hunger Strike in DC

The video summarizes the issue. Long story short, an American company, Signal International colludes with an Indian contracting company to lure 100s of workers from India with false promises of greencards. The workers proceed to go deep into debt with the contracting company to make this happen. Once in the States, it turns out they’re given H2B guest worker visas (yes, I treat all my guests by making them pay 1000s of bucks a month for sharing a trailer with 25 other people) that are specifically not eligible for green cards except under family quotas. This is bonded labor, American style. No arguments can be made that these workers have it better than in India and they should be grateful.

I am incredibly proud of these workers for finding the courage to strike and take their protests to DC. The Washington Post seems to have dedicated one measly article worth of coverage.

There are many reasons for this exploitation. The dehumanization of third world (including Mexican) workers is a contributing factor, so is the broken immigration system that allows excessively restrictive employment contracts. Most importantly, the U.S department of labor exists solely to make the lives of the companies it regulates easier. It has nothing to do with labor any more.

I am glad they’re protesting for their dignity and broken promises. Wonder what’s stopping the company from firing them for striking, they’re not allowed to strike! That way, they can then notify the aptly named ICE (Immigrations and Customs Enforcement) to have them deported.

N&O: Stop Using the word "illegal"

Colleges await more advice on illegals | Colleges await more advice on illegals

The N&O does a global search on every “undocumented” in official statements about immigrants and replaces with “ilegals”. Presumably, they are intelligent enough to know what they are doing and are doing this deliberately. Please write to the author of this particular piece, Kristin Collins at to let her know that this is disgusting and has to stop. Here’s some typical text…

I read with increasing dismay, the use of the word “illegals” in your articles to describe people who lack the necessary documentation to live in the United States. A small percentage of their actions can be termed illegal, but they are not “illegal” people. This is the same as saying that every one who drives 36 mph in a 35 mph zone is an illegal. A person may be guilty or charged of illegal acts, that does not make them “illegals”. Note that in the course of a day, an undocumented immigrant may perform  many many legal acts and a so called “legal” American may be breaking the law a dozen times. If the definition of illegal is knowingly breaking a law (whether you get caught or not), all of us are “illegal” in one way or the other.

I fear that your temptation to use one charged word to describe whole groups of real law abiding, tax paying people is lazy at best, and fear mongering and sensationalistic at worst. The N&O does good investigative work and need not sully its good name by stooping to such demagoguery. Please stop. If you want to use one word, use “undocumenteds”. It is more specific and conveys to readers exactly what illegal act these people are charged with.


Roy Cooper: Ignorant of Basic Law

No federal law prohibits North Carolina from admitting illegal immigrants to its colleges and universities, officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said today.The statement from federal officials contradicts a letter sent this week by the office of state Attorney General Roy Cooper.The letter from Cooper’s office advised the state Community College System that federal law bars the admission of illegal immigrants to public colleges and universities, even if they pay out-of-state tuition.The letter said that the Department of Homeland Security, of which ICE is a part, was responsible for enforcing the law and offered to ask the department for further clarification of the law. | Feds: College OK for illegal immigrants

So, what kind of person randomly makes up U.S Federal laws about undocumented immigrants (illegal, he calls them) and college? Well, the top lawyer of North Carolina’s government, Attorney General Roy Cooper of course! Glad that he was caught out.

The issue? The hordes (350 or so scattered around the University and Community college system) of undocumented immigrants who pay out-of-state tuition and are admitted on merit to attend colleges in North Carolina. Conservatives want college systems to enforce immigration law. What next, have your papers checked every time you fill gas? The claim has often been made that there are a lot of hidden costs that this out of state tuition does not cover and actually, even out of state tuition paying students are being subsidized. No data has been put forward to back up this claim. Note the hactackularness of this tome by the John Pope institute, which makes a lot of conclusions based on their analysis of census data while not actually sharing any of the analysis/results.

Clearly, undocumented immigrants are not overwhelming the system, or even making a dent. So, this is all about demagoguery and I am glad that Governor Easley has overruled his attorney general and come out against colleges acting as immigration police. Life for one of these students is hard enough as it is, getting past the high admissions standards, affording the steep out-of-state tuition, they don’t need to keep looking over their shoulder every time they go to class.

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