Officials at Palestine House in Mississauga say they aid newcomers, but they're not involved in human smuggling or helping people obtain Canadian citizenship illegally.
The Erindale Station Rd. language and cultural centre responded today to claims that it helped some of the 1,800 new Canadians who are set to be stripped of their citizenship because they were obtained fraudulently.
Immigration Minister Jason Kenney confirmed last week that "we are in the process of notifying (the 1,800 people) that we will be revoking their citizenship because Canadian citizenship is not for sale."
Kenney said some of the individuals are believed to have used "unscrupulous" immigration consultants who submitted fraudulent applications on behalf of people who did not meet qualifications for citizenship.
The 1,800 were identified following a three-year investigation by the RCMP, other police forces and Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
About 300 of those identified used an address located in the same building as Palestine House, claiming to live there in order to fraudulently obtain citizenship when instead they were living outside Canada.
Samir Jabbour, media officer for Palestine House, said a tenant who worked as an immigration consultant elsewhere in the building was investigated by the RCMP.
Jabbour denied any wrongdoing on the part of Palestine House.
"We have some tenants in the building, but we are not involved in any of the business of these people," Jabbour told The News. "People are trying to accuse us of dealing with fraudulent immigration issues. We're surprised by this. We never violated any law and I'm adamant that we had nothing to do with any of this."
If Palestine House was involved in the fraud, it would have lost its government funding, Jabbour noted. Furthermore, he said, staff helped police with the investigation.
How, er, helpful of them.
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