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Doubly punished: Deepan Budlakoti faces deportation after imprisonment


Deepan Budlakoti and other protesters bringing attention to double punishment outside MP Justin Trudeau's office on January 22, 2014. | Hera Chan
The Wednesday before last, Ottawa-born Deepan Budlakoti gathered with a few other protesters at Member of Parliament Justin Trudeau’s office in Parc-Extension, Montreal, to raise attention to his current status: since May 2010, he is not a citizen of any country. He is currently trying to try to find a way out of legal limbo.

Budlakoti, born in Canada and a holder of a Canadian passport, was told he was never a Canadian citizen by the government after he was imprisoned in late 2009. The Canadian government is supposed to guarantee citizenship to persons born on Canadian soil, with the exception of non-Canadian diplomats. Budlakoti was born in Ottawa several months after his parents stopped working for the Indian High Commissioner in 1989. In 2011, while he was serving a second prison sentence in his home city, Budlakoti was served a deportation order. The order was the result of several hearings and investigations held by the Canadian government while he was incarcerated.

According to an information page published by Solidarity Across Borders on May 10, 2013, double punishment is an “unjust policy used against non-citizens [including permanent residents] who face deportation after already being punished by the criminal justice system." Further, the threat of double punishment is “racist and [creates] a two-tier justice system in which immigrants face far more disastrous consequences for committing crimes than Canadian citizens.” Budlakoti, however, is a Canadian citizen and can claim no other citizenship in the world.

Other cases of double punishment in Canada include Iranian political refugee Farshad Mohammadi, who was facing possible deportation because of a criminal conviction related to his homelessness and was later killed by the Montreal police in January 2013. Jean-Bernard Devilmé, a resident of Canada for over 25 years with his spouse and children, was facing double punishment in December 2012 and at risk of deportation to Haiti.

“There are certain communities that are disproportionately affected by double punishment, and that happens to completely coincide and completely correlate with those communities that are racially profiled,” said No One is Illegal activist Jaggi Singh, on a panel co-hosted by CKUT 90.3fm radio and the McGill Daily on January 22.

See more media co-op coverage about Budlakoti, Dany Villaneuva, and other cases of double punishment.

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Hera Chan (Hera Chan)
Montreal - Plateau
Member since January 2014

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