Deemed criminally inadmissible and ordered to leave Canada, Deepan Budlakoti claims to be rehabilitated and continues to fight government ruling
July 2015 – After a hearing in Montreal, the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada has eased the release conditions for a 25 year-old Ottawa-born man without citizenship who was convicted of drug and weapons charges and ordered to leave the country.
At the hearing, Deepan Budlakoti contested the conditions of his release from custody, which he claimed put him in a state of legal limbo following his removal order. Budlakoti had been transferred to the custody of Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) after he completed the jail sentence for his criminal convictions. CBSA was to detain him pending his removal from the country, but released him under certain conditions, including that he remain within the Ottawa area and report to the agency every three months.
Budlakoti protested that these conditions violated his Charter rights.
“You can’t do schooling properly. You can’t go to work properly. You have no health coverage. So you feel like an outcast in society even though you are born in this country,” Budlakoti stated.
Budlakoti’s lawyer further claimed that CBSA’s conditions have caused his client psychological duress.
“They’re making him anxious. They’re making him depressed. It’s basically making it impossible for him to function and have a normal life.”
Following his release, various human rights organizations, public-sector unions, and citizens rallied to Budlakoti’s support.
As a result of the hearing, the Board has ruled to ease his conditions on account of good behaviour as well as the fact that over two years have elapsed since he was released from custody in 2013. Budlakoti now has to check in with CBSA every six months instead of three. He must report to Canadian immigration officials within 48 hours of any criminal accusation, arrest, or conviction.
Born in Ottawa in 1989 to two Indian nationals employed by the Indian High Commission, Budlakoti was not automatically granted citizenship by birth, which Canadian law does not extend to the children of diplomats, other foreign government representatives, or their employees. However, Budlakoti refutes the status of his parents’ employment at the time he was born, contending that their employment with the High Commission ended two months prior to his birth. Budlakoti’s parents gained permanent resident status in 1992.
In 2009, Budlakoti was convicted of breaking and entering, and received a jail sentence of four months. The following year, he was convicted of trafficking drugs and weapons, and possessing a firearm, for which he received a three-year sentence.
In 2011, Canadian immigration began investigating Budlakoti’s status in Canada, and found him to be a permanent resident but not a citizen. The authorities consequently deemed him inadmissible to Canada due the “serious criminality” of the offences for which he had been convicted.
Canadian Immigration then issued a deportation order against him but were unable to enforce it because Budlakoti had nowhere to relocate, having no citizenship in any country. His parents’ home country of India has denied him entry, with the High Commission officially declining to recognize Budlakoti in 2013.
After the Immigration and Refugee Board rejected his request for Canadian citizenship in 2011, Budlakoti applied for the Federal Court of Canada to review the Board’s ruling. He lost the case at that level and again in May 2015 at the Federal Court of Appeal, which ruled against his claims to being a legally “stateless person,” since he never officially applied for citizenship in Canada or India.
Budlakoti states that he has initiated proceedings to challenge this latest ruling at the Supreme Court. He insists that, despite his youthful history of criminality, he is fully rehabilitated.
“I was a ward of the state when I was 14,” Budlakoti told an interviewer. “I was going from group home to group home. I made a mistake when I was younger but I paid my debt to society and I’m trying to move on with my life.”
François Milo, the Immigration and Refugee Board member who attended Budlakoti’s hearing in Montreal, believes that Budlakoti still poses a flight risk and a threat to society. However, Milo concedes that the “danger ground for detention has lessened through the passage of time and because of Mr. Budlakoti’s good conduct, compared to that of his troubled youth and early adulthood.”
A criminal record is a frequent cause for individuals to be denied entry to Canada or ordered to leave the country. You may read more about criminal inadmissibility to Canada and how to overcome it elsewhere on our website. For detailed guidance regarding your own status, you should contact a knowledgeable legal advisor at First Immigration Law Firm toll-free in North America at 1-855-360-4333.