News / Canada

Immigration board eases conditions on 'stateless' Ottawa man

A man who says the Canadian government has rendered him “stateless” said he has mixed feelings about the immigration and refugee board relaxing his release conditions.

Deepan Budlakoti had asked the board this week to rescind the bail-like conditions he has been living under since the Canadian government told him he was not a citizen, despite living here his entire life.

Those conditions have been relaxed. An immigration board member ruled Budlakoti must report to the Canada Border Services Agency every six months, instead of every three.

He also ruled the condition that Budlakoti must keep the peace is too vague and has changed it so the Ottawa native must instead report to border officials within 48 hours of any arrest, accusation or conviction.

Reached Friday, Budlakoti said he was happy those conditions had been relaxed, but reiterated that he had asked for all conditions to be removed, arguing their indefinite nature violated his constitutional rights.

He still has two sureties which he had asked to be removed. And he still has to report to CBSA, even though he can't go anywhere because he has no citizenship or passport.

The conditions have caused him psychological harm, he said.

"Having these conditions has caused me anxiety and given me panic attacks," he said Friday.

Budlakoti was born in Ottawa to Indian parents in 1989, who were in Canada working at the Indian High Commission.

Four years ago, after being convicted on drugs and weapons-related charges, he was told that he’s not a Canadian citizen, despite being issued an Ontario birth certificate and Canadian passport.

Budlakoti argues the Canadian government has rendered him stateless. He had asked that his Canadian citizenship be reinstated and argued that the government is infringing on his Charter rights.

The Federal Court ruled against him in that effort earlier this year, and the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the ruling last month.

Budlakoti has applied for leave to appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada in that case.

With files from The Canadian Press

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