OTTAWA, July 20 (UPI) -- Some 1,800 people who got Canadian citizenship fraudulently will be tracked down and deported in an unprecedented sweep, the immigration minister said.
Minister Jason Kenney told reporters in Vancouver federal immigration investigators and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had identified the 1,800 suspects who had entered the country as phony refugees, or by using human smugglers or illicit immigration consultants, Postmedia News reported.
"For those who simply touch down and try to get a Canadian passport as a ... passport of convenience, who don't pay our taxes but who do consume our social benefits, I think that's dishonorable," he said.
Since Canada was founded in 1867, it has only repealed the citizenship of 67 people, the QMI Agency reported.
After the suspects are notified they are losing their citizenship, they have the right to appeal the ruling in federal court. That can take years, during which time they retain citizenship rights and benefits, QMI said.
In the run-up to the latest purge, the Conservative government last year introduced legislation to expedite the expulsion of illegal immigrants, Postmedia said.