Chelsea Manning: Deemed Inadmissible to Canada
Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. soldier and intelligence analyst who was convicted of the largest breach of classified information in American history, has been denied entry into Canada.
On September 25th, Manning shared a letter from Canadian Immigration to her Twitter feed that denies her authorization to Canada, due to serious criminal offences committed in the United States regarded as having the same level of severity in Canada. The letter says of Manning’s convictions, “if committed in Canada this offence would equate to an indictable offence, namely treason.”
Manning was convicted of disclosing thousands of confidential government documents in 2013 in an attempt to reveal what she saw as the U.S. military’s disdain towards the detrimental effects of the Iraq War on civilians. Manning was convicted of violating the espionage act, theft of government property and computer fraud; although she was cleared from her most serious charge of aiding the enemy. She was officially released from prison in May, four months after Barack Obama commuted her sentence in one of his final acts as President of the United States. On the day before her release, the U.S. Army stated that Manning would remain active in an exceptional, unpaid status entitling her to commissary privileges and military medical care.
The letter from Canadian immigration officials alerts the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship that Manning’s former convictions deem her inadmissible to Canada.
However, Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada refused to comment on the case, as did Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who simply stated that he looked forward to receiving more information.
Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale, who supervises Canadian Border Services, stated that criminal background is an essential criterion in determining whether or not to allow a given person into Canada. Goodale says that he has not been asked to intervene nor attempt to change this decision made by Canadian border officials.
“When a Canada border service officer has exercised appropriately within their jurisdiction the judgment that they are called upon to make, I don’t interfere in that process in any kind of a light or cavalier manner,” stated Goodale.
NDP leadership candidate and MP Niki Ashton responded to the situation as “unacceptable” and tweeted of Manning’s refused authorization that “the government must fix this and allow her [Manning] in our country.”
While citizens of the United States may be deemed inadmissible to Canada due to a previous criminal conviction, they can apply for a Temporary Resident Permit at the border or before entering the country. In order to obtain eligibility, the individual must prove that their purpose of travel to Canada (preferably work-related) outweighs their past criminality. Whether Manning has attempted to apply for a Temporary Resident Permit is unknown.
Manning has stated that she will be challenging her inadmissibility to Canada at an upcoming hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board.