Canada defends move to deport man to Zimbabwe

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CANADA – Ottawa is defending its decision to deport a 21-year-old man to Zimbabwe who came to Canada to be reunited with his mother and ran afoul of the law.

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chigogora

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Family, friends and supporters of Farai Chigogora say he is a bright, young man who was a victim of circumstances and should not have been returned to the country he left when he was 14.

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Chigogora said he pleaded guilty in 2012 to theft under ,000 in connection with a Cayuga home invasion because of the financial and emotional strain the case put on his family. He spent 15 months in jail.

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Chigogora, who had been active with the NGen Youth Centre in downtown Hamilton, returned to Zimbabwe last Tuesday after a Federal Court judge rejected a last-minute stay of removal. He came to Canada in 2008 to be reunited with his mother and two younger siblings and was a permanent resident.

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Anna Pape of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) said the decision to remove someone from Canada is not taken lightly, but that Chigogora had been issued a deportation order for “serious criminality” on July 3, 2014 by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

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“Protecting the safety and security of Canadians is a priority for the CBSA,” Pape said in a statement to The Spectator.

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“The CBSA places highest priority on removal cases involving national security, organized crime, crimes against humanity and criminals.”

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There had been a moratorium on deportations to Zimbabwe because of unsafe conditions, but in December the Conservative government lifted it.

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Ottawa said it was doing this because Zimbabwe was not in a state of war or extreme civil strife and because allies like Great Britain and the United States removed individuals to Zimbabwe. The moratorium had been in place because of the political and economic instability of the regime of President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since 1980.

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Pape said individuals can seek a judicial review, plus an administrative review procedure that assesses the potential risk to the person being returned to their country of origin.

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She also said a pre-removal risk assessment is one of the safeguards in place to ensure people in need of protection are not removed. It is conducted by officers of Citizenship and Immigration.

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“Everyone ordered removed from Canada is entitled to due process,” Pape said. “However, our position is clear — once individuals have exhausted all legal avenues of recourse/due process, they are expected to respect our laws and leave Canada or be removed.”

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