The man who has lived in Canada since his early childhood arrived in Amsterdam Tuesday after being deported from Canada for his criminal offenses, which he said was due to his mental illness. “It’s devastating,” says Len Van Heest, 59, who says his bipolar disorder is responsible for his criminal convictions.
Len Van Heest was welcomed at the airport of Amsterdam Schiphol by his cousin Monique Lemstra who will host the expelled at least temporarily.
Len Van Heest moved to Canada with his parents at the age of eight months: “They send me a foreign country, they take away my mother, all my friends. I am devastated. ”
He is one of those many immigrants who are being deported from Canada in the wake of the initiatives of the previous Canadian Conservative government that tightened laws on the expulsion of non-citizen criminals.
A criminal past that does not forgive
Van Heest was first deported in January 2008 after being deemed inadmissible to remain in Canada because of a 2001 conviction for assault with a weapon.
According to court documents, he was convicted of more than 40 criminal charges between 1976 and 2013. He was denied permanent residence in Canada because of his criminal record.
Van Heest said his crimes were the result of bipolar trouble he developed while he was a teenager. He served nine months in prison for an assault, but he says he is now in full control of his mental illness and does not drink or do drugs.
Last motion refused
After years of delay, Van Heest’s last motion to stay in Vancouver was denied last Thursday. He applied for permanent resident status on humanitarian grounds.
Just before 3 pm on Monday, Canadian border officials escorted Van Heest on the plane from Vancouver.
In court documents, Van Heest said he would not be able to get health care, housing, income or social network in the Netherlands.
Van Heest left his mother, Trixie, 81, with whom he lived, along with his brother and his nieces and nephews.
“We play Scrabble, do my laundry, help her cut the grass and all that … We’re just the best friends, it devastates my mother, it devastates me, it devastates all my family. ”
Green Party leader Elizabeth May appealed to Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen to stop the deportation.
“I am very concerned that once a person is deported, it becomes extremely difficult for them to return to Canada,” May said in an interview.