"She will have acid thrown on her or be killed."
The Indian student facing deportation from Canada over her fake college admission letter has been allowed to remain pending the outcome of a judicial review.
Karamjeet Kaur was set to be deported at 6 am on May 29, 2023.
But on May 27, Justice Alan Diner approved a motion to stay the removal order until a final decision is made for leave and judicial review of a Canadian Border Services Agency officer’s decision not to defer the removal.
In his decision, Justice Diner noted that the stay effectively grants the same relief sought in the judicial review application but said there were still open questions about whether the officer reasonably addressed the potential risks of Karamjeet’s return to India.
Karamjeet arrived from Punjab five years ago to study.
She had been living in Edmonton when authorities later discovered that her student visa application included a fraudulent admissions letter.
While authorities acknowledged that Karamjeet did not know the letter was fake, it was still her responsibility to confirm the admission.
Her lawyer Stewart Istvanffy said she should be allowed to remain in Canada until another application to stay on humanitarian grounds can be processed.
He argued that Karamjeet deportation would put her life in danger at the hands of the immigration agent who has since been criminally charged.
Mr Istvanffy said: “This person is still free and he’s threatened to throw acid at her, he’s threatened her family.
“She will have acid thrown on her or be killed.”
Her brother in Punjab was beaten badly on May 21, 2023.
Karamjeet was also at risk due to circulating photos showing she attended a Khalistani demonstration.
He challenged previous assessments made by authorities that Karamjeet would have state protection in India.
Mr Istvannfy said there is a human rights crisis in Punjab and the pre-removal risk assessment has “nothing to do with reality”.
He also highlighted Karamjeet’s track record in Canada, stating she earned a diploma in business administration, her employer of four years is “extremely satisfied with her services” and she got married in April 2023.
Mr Istvannfy added: “She is someone who would be an exemplary immigrant.”
Meanwhile, crown prosecutor Galina Bining argued that Karamjeet did not make her application in a timely manner.
She said the bogus letter was identified three years ago but Karamjeet Kaur only made her application four or five months ago.
She said the risk to Karamjeet’s life was “fully reviewed” by the pre-removal risk assessment officer.
Ms Bining said there was nothing new presented that showed Karamjeet’s life was at risk apart from the danger she faced for her support of the separatist Khalistani movement.
Ms Bining said: “There’s a complete lack of evidence.”
She questioned why the concern had not been raised in earlier applications.
Ms Bining also questioned Karamjeet’s credibility.
According to Ms Bining, Karamjeet said she came from a middle-class family, which contradicted her previous lawyer’s statement that she came from a poor and rural household.
Ms Bining added:
“It seems at times the applicant is willing to say whatever suits her purpose.”
On the same day, Federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser said authorities were investigating recent reports of fraudulent acceptance letters.
On Twitter, he said that the ministry’s focus is “on identifying culprits, not penalising victims”.
The tweet added: “Victims of fraud will have an opportunity to demonstrate their situation and present evidence to support their case.”