A hearing to decide whether Hamdan should be deported is planned but figures obtained by Global News show the government has been removing far fewer foreign nationals who pose security and criminal risks than it used to.
The number of foreign citizens deported for security, crime, organized crime and international human rights abuses has dropped by about a third since 2014, according to Canada Border Services Agency figures.
During that same period, the number awaiting deportation on those grounds has more than doubled to 1,164. They include 20 ordered deported on security grounds and 35 for organized crime.
In effect, the number of non-Canadians deemed by the government to be too dangerous to remain in the country has gone up but the number being successfully deported has gone down.
As a result, there are currently almost 1,200 citizens of foreign countries living in Canada despite having been ordered deported for the most serious reasons such as membership in terrorist organizations and gangs.
“The number has increased slightly year over year,” said Barre Campbell, a border agency spokesperson.
The CBSA did not say how many of those awaiting deportation were detained.
Asked why removals had declined so significantly, Campbell initially responded that the CBSA would “not speculate.” In a subsequent statement, the agency attributed the drop to troubles obtaining travel documents.