Posted Friday, February 14, 2003

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  I don't know what his immigration status is, but he is a bad boy -- Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League

Friday, February 14, 2003


Zündel headed back to Canada

Globe and Mail

ZündelTHE uneasy relationship between German-born Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel and his adopted home of Canada may be only days away from resuming.

As Mr. Zündel sat in a Tennessee jail cell awaiting deportation Thursday, a U.S. immigration spokesman said that the prisoner will now likely be sent back to Canada - and not Germany, as previously stated.

"I got bad information," said Temple Black of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in New Orleans. "It looks like this guy is going to be going back to Canada rather than Germany."

Saying that the U.S. has been in touch with Canada on the issue, Mr. Black added that "what Canadian authorities will do with him is not known at this time."

An Immigration Canada spokeswoman could not comment on the case Thursday.

Only last year, Mr. Zündel vowed that "I will not set foot in Canada again," - an avowal he made because of this country's repeated efforts to strap a muzzle on him while he was a permanent resident.

For the past three years the self-styled freedom-of-expression activist has been living in Tennessee. He was arrested there last week for allegedly overstaying a temporary U.S. visa.

As Mr. Zündel's case descends into immigration-law arcana, his future is not clear.

Mr. Zündel, for example, could try to appeal or delay any U.S. deportation order. Already his wife is asking supporters to call upon the American Civil Liberties Union to intervene.

Currently the INS says that it plans to ship Mr. Zündel back to Canada under the terms of a reciprocal 1987 Canada-U.S. treaty. But some experts say the treaty is not automatic - and that it's possible the U.S. could still decide to deport him to Germany, a country with tough anti-hate laws that Mr. Zündel has ran afoul of before.

Complicating things further is the fact that Mr. Zündel's status in Canada is unclear.

He arrived in Canada in 1958 and became a permanent resident, but his attempts to get Canadian citizenship were not successful.

Because Mr. Zündel has been outside of Canada for a long period, his permanent residency status may be in jeopardy. But this question is muddled by a change in law.

Prior to this past June, it used to be that any permanent residents who stayed outside of Canada for more than six months could have their status stripped by an immigration officer.

New laws, however, set the bar differently: It is only permanent residents who stay outside of Canada for more than three of the past five years whose status is in jeopardy.

Mr. Zündel left Canada for the United States sometime in 2000, making it unclear as to whether he has exceeded the three-year limit.

If he has no status, Canada could attempt to send him back to Germany. But Mr. Zündel would still have access to various appeals and recourses.


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