Skip to comments.(Indigenous)Man May Be Jailed Until Citizenship Proven
Posted on 10/12/2002 8:09:00 AM PDT by Tancred
REGINA (CP) _ Federal Immigration officials are threatening to arrest and jail an aboriginal man living in Regina who can't prove his citizenship.
It's the latest skirmish in an ongoing battle that began last year when immigration officials discovered Charlie Smoke was working as an associate teacher at a Regina high school without proper authorization.
He was ordered to leave Canada but refused. When Canadian officials tried to deport Smoke to the U.S., officials there refused his entry because he had no documentation.
``We'll be revisiting the terms and conditions of his release and we'll be asking the adjudicator to reconsider retaking Mr. Smoke into custody,'' said Darcy Warner, supervisor of the Regina Immigration office.
``He's in violation of the terms and conditions of his release, that being that he co-operate with citizenship and immigration in terms of answering questions, things like this,'' Warner added.
Smoke is currently free on $1,000 bail but Warner said the application to the adjudicator will be made within 48 hours.
``Well, I guess that means I'll be spending the rest of my life in jail,'' said Smoke. ``It's better in a Canadian jail than an American jail. They got cable and all kinds of stuff up here.''
Smoke, 40, said he met with Immigration officials for only five minutes.
``They refused to respond to any of my questions. I refused to respond to any of their questions. They said that a warrant may be issued for my arrest because I am not complying with them.''
Smoke says he was born on the Canadian side of the Akwesasne reserve that straddles the Canada-U.S. border near Cornwall, Ont.
He maintains he was never issued a birth certificate and was never registered as a status Indian, but that he considers himself to be neither a Canadian nor a U.S. citizen.
Instead, Smoke refers to himself as a pre-Canadian aboriginal person and claims he has the right to live on either side of the border.
``No colony has the right to come to another land and impose citizenship on indigenous people living on that land,'' said Smoke.
Smoke even brought his own deportation order asking that four immigration officials who have dealt with his case ``vacate Turtle Island, the land known to them as the Americas.''
Warner said the investigation to determine if Smoke is Canadian or American will continue whether he remains free or goes to jail.
``It's an ongoing investigation. It could take weeks. It could take months,'' said Warner.
Smoke is to appear in Regina provincial court later this month.
A trial on a charge under the Employment Insurance Act that he fraudulently used his wife's social insurance number to gain employment has been set for Oct. 30.
Immigration officials prepared to jail Smoke
Federal immigration officials in Regina are threatening to jail an aboriginal man until his citizenship can be unequivocally proven.
Charlie Smoke could be placed back into custody after failing to co-operate with his own "removal process," said Darcy Warner, the supervisor of the Regina immigration office.
The process would see the 40-year-old Regina resident deported to the U.S. if it can be proven he is an American citizen.
The problem is that Smoke's citizenship has prompted a long-standing controversy between him and officials at Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Last year, he was asked by federal immigration officials to leave Canada on the grounds that he was a U.S. visitor working illegally at a Regina high school.
Smoke refused the departure order and was escorted to the Canada-U.S. border. But U.S. officials refused Smoke entry, saying their Canadian counterparts did not have the sufficient paperwork to prove he is American.
Evidence is scant because Smoke's birth was never registered and he was never registered as a status Indian. He was born in his family's home on the Akwesasne reserve which straddles the borders of Quebec, Ontario and New York state.
Smoke flatly rejects that he is a U.S. visitor. Instead, he considers himself a "pre-Canadian" and a "Lakota national" who is free to work and live in any part of North America.
On Thursday, he met with Warner and others at the Regina immigration office. Warner said it was an effort to gather more information on Smoke's past so the department can further build its deportation case.
But Smoke refused to answer any of their questions, saying that such queries have been asked of him before.
"The questions they ask are just a facade. This is not about them trying to find information. It's just about them trying to harass me," Smoke said. "They told me a warrant may be issued for my arrest because I'm not complying with them. They don't like the fact that I've been traveling around to different cities, talking to people about (my experience)."
Smoke added that Warner and others did not answer any of his questions after he served them with a deportation order of his own. The order called on immigration officials "to vacate Turtle Island, the land known to them as 'the Americas.'"
As a result of Smoke's "unco-operative" actions, Warner said officials in his office "will be revisiting the terms and conditions of his release and we'll be asking the (immigration) adjudicator to reconsider taking Mr. Smoke into custody."
After the federal government's foiled attempt to deport Smoke, he was released on a $1,000 bail.
But that could change if an adjudicator finds he has violated the terms and conditions of his release, such as failing to answer the department's questions, said Warner.
In the coming days, an adjudicator will decide if there is enough evidence to re-incarcerate Smoke.
Smoke will appear in Regina provincial court on Oct. 30 to answer to charges that he fraudulently used his wife's social insurance number to gain employment at Scott Collegiate.
Smoke worked as a teaching associate at the high school during the 2000-2001 academic year.
Oh, I don't know; at least he's being an idiot with style... that business about deporting the deporters is a nice touch.