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Deportation of alleged Mob boss a taste of Canada's own medicine

Salvatore Montagna, 37, is married and has three daughters. Ten yearsago he established a steel company, Matrix Steel, in Brooklyn, New Yorkand has since turned it into a multi-million dollar enterprise.

Salvatore Montagna, 37, is married and has three daughters. Ten years ago he established a steel company, Matrix Steel, in Brooklyn and has since turned it into a multimillion dollar enterprise.

Some would consider him a successful businessman.

Not the FBI.

The FBI believes that Montagna earned the name “Bambino Boss” when, at the tender age of 35, he became the head of the Bonanno family, reportedly one of the notorious five Mafia families of New York.

In 2002, “Sal the Ironworker” Montagna was arrested in New York on gambling and loan sharking charges. The Feds couldn’t make those charges stick but managed to secure a conviction in 2003 for “criminal contempt” of court when Montagna refused to testify at a grand jury hearing in Manhattan.

On April 6 Montagna was arrested by U.S. immigration authorities pending his imminent deportation to Canada.

Why Canada?

Montagna was born in Montreal and was raised partially there and partially in Sicily. When he was 15, he and his family settled permanently in New York. He was granted permanent residency status in the U.S. but never took out U.S. citizenship. Even though he lived in the U.S. for most of his life, his conviction for refusing to testify before the grand jury rendered him deportable from the U.S. Since he is a citizen of both Italy and Canada he was given a choice of destinations.

He chose Canada.

Canadian authorities will be hard pressed to prevent Montagna from relocating here since he is a Canadian citizen by birth. Indeed, when asked for comment, CBSA spokeswoman Patrizia Gioliti declined to give one but did confirm that he is a Canadian citizen and “has the right to enter Canada.”

Furthermore, no restrictions can be imposed on him upon his arrival since has no criminal history in Canada and so bail or parole conditions cannot be imposed on him.

Although we may not like this situation, we have absolutely no grounds for complaint since Canada does the very same thing hundreds of times each year.

Young children immigrate to Canada every day and live here their entire lives without their parents ever taking out Canadian citizenship for them. As soon as they have a run-in with the law, the CBSA swoops in and secures their deportation to their country of birth -- or to some other country -- where they may have never lived, don't know anybody and have nowhere to stay. Like the trash we take to the end of our driveway, we don’t care where it goes, or what happens to it, just as long as it’s gone by morning.

Many of these countries resent it terribly when a convicted and possibly dangerous criminal who has lived, and was shaped, in Canada for decades is unceremoniously dumped on their doorstep - often penniless and without any support. The receiving state is powerless to prevent it and often has little legal basis to detain or impose controls over their long-forgotten citizen.

It seems that in the next few days, when Salvatore Montagna arrives in this country, Canada will be getting a taste of its own medicine.

Guidy Mamann practices law in Toronto at Mamann, Sandaluk and is certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as an immigration specialist. Reach him confidentially at 416-862-0000 or at metro@migrationlaw.com.

 
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