Having just thwarted a potential terror attack earlier this week, Canada is reviewing its deportation policies after learning that one of the suspects in the planned attack had a criminal record. Raed Jaser, who is suspected of plotting to derail a New York to Toronto passenger train, a plot police believe was backed by Al-Qaida, was previously convicted on charges of fraud and threatening death or bodily harm in two separate instances. Authorities issued a warrant for his arrest, but a court later deferred the deportation when Jaser argued that he could not be deported because he was a stateless Palestinian with no country to go back to. He was later granted a pardon.
Federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said he was “disturbed to learn a foreigner can get a pardon for serious criminal cases and then be allowed to stay.”
Since Jaser’s 2004 case the Canadian government had altered its deportation policy, enacting the Faster Removal of Foreign Criminals Act, which bars criminals who have served six months in jail from appealing a removal order.
Jaser’s alleged accomplice, Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian citizen, has lived in Quebec since 2008 and has been a doctoral student at The University of Quebec for three years.
The two men could face life in prison if convicted.
Toronto Globe Reporter, Colin Freeze, spoke with msnbc’s Alex Witt on Saturday afternoon about the terror plot. Freeze discussed the suspects and what could have motivated them to carry out the attacks.