Canadian minister proposes tightening immigration

Canada's Immigration Minister Kenney speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

MONTREAL - Immigration Minister Jason Kenney introduced legislation in the House of Commons Wednesday that would tighten conditions for foreigners entering Canada and aimed mainly at "foreign criminals."

The measure calls for the automatic expulsion of political refugees and both permanent and temporary residents who commit a crime and are sentenced to more than six months prison.

The government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper "is putting a stop to foreign criminals relying on endless appeals in order to delay their removal from Canada during which time they continue to terrorize innocent Canadians," Kenney told reporters.

Kenney cited several cased to support his claim, including that of a Chinese-born man identified as Joe Woo who became a permanent resident of Canada in 1990.

Woo broke the law, and while he appealed his case to delay his deportation he was found guilty of the kidnapping of two Canadians.

"He is still at large," Kenney said. "He shouldn't be. He should have been deported years ago, in which case those kidnappings would not have happened."

The proposed change "means that there will be no review of all of the circumstances and how the deportation order might affect children or spouses, family, etc," immigration attorney Lorne Waldman told CBC News in an e-mail message. "It means deportation regardless of how long the person is in Canada."

The legislation would also grant the Immigration Ministry the authority to reject a candidate's request for temporary residence for reasons of "public interest."

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