NEWS

Feds add to 'most wanted' deportation list

01/11/2012 01:07 EST | Updated 03/12/2012 05:12 EDT

The Canada Border Services Agency has added 30 people sought for removal from Canada to its "most wanted" list.

The new names join others from the CBSA's previous "most wanted" lists who have eluded authorities despite last summer's appeal for tips from the public. The updated list contains 42 names, photos and descriptions of why the person is sought for deportation.

"I'm pleased to announce the continuation of our successful efforts to identify, detain and remove from Canada people who are here illegally who have been found inadmissable to Canada by our legal system," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney told reporters at a news conference in Montreal.

Since the start of the campaign, the CBSA said, it has received 225 calls from the public to its telephone hotline.

"The response has been encouraging," said Benoît Chiquette, a Quebec regional director general for the agency.

Fifteen people in Canada and four abroad have been located, which the agency attributes to the public awareness campaign. To date, seven have been deported.

"This demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach of co-operating with the public to identify people who are here illegally," Kenney said.

The newly revised website contains only one list for all the persons sought by the agency. In addition to those from the previous two lists — those wanted for war crimes and serious criminality — some of the additions to the list are inadmissible to Canada on security grounds or wanted for organized criminality.

"Those who have been convicted of serious crimes in other countries or with an outstanding warrant in another country will also be featured," Chiquette said.

The agency says the "consolidated" site now "fully represents the CBSA's priorities for removals," including the categories highlighted by the previous lists.

Public Safety Minister Vic Toews held a similar news conference for reporters in Toronto. CBSA officials took part in both events.

Lists launched last summer

Last summer, Toews and Kenney announced a public campaign by the Canada Border Services Agency to help track down people sought for deportation from Canada but currently eluding the authorities.

The first list, published in July, named suspected war criminals believed to be living in Canada, while a second list launched in August identified foreign citizens wanted for deportation after convictions for serious crimes in Canada.

Members of the public were asked to provide tips to help find the fugitives.

The Canadian Press obtained departmental briefing notes about the creation of the "most wanted" lists, suggesting officials had cautioned ministers about the risks of publishing a list with names and photos as part of a public awareness campaign.

Kenney brushed off the suggestion that the government's list could create an unsafe environment for the named individuals once they are sent back to their countries of origin.

"Anyone who's been staying in Canada illegally is going to come up with every possible effort to prolong their stay here," Kenney said. "In virtually every case they're going to come up and say that they might face risk in their country.

"We're not going to respond to every foreign criminal in Canada … who constantly invent stories of risk," Kenney said. "Some of these people might face justice in their countries of origin. … But obviously we would never return someone to a situation where there has been a finding that they're likely to face cruel or unusual punishment."

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