A longtime Abbotsford gang associate has been ordered deported to India even though he left his birth country as a seven-year-old to live with relatives in B.C.
Jimi Sandhu, 26, lost an appeal of the removal order by the Immigration and Refugee Board issued after a string of convictions and interactions with police.
At a hearing in December, Sandhu testified that he was a changed man who had left his gang associates behind, moved to Edmonton, got married and was opening a business.
But Immigration Appeal Division member Maryanne Kingma said she was unconvinced that Sandhu had changed as much as he claimed.
“The totality of the available evidence fails to show that the appellant has made meaningful or actual efforts to change a long history of negative behaviour. Consequently, the likelihood of rehabilitation is a factor that weighs substantially against the appeal for special relief,” Kingma said in her written reasons.
She accepted Sandhu’s testimony that he was not a gang member, though noted he admitted he had friends who were in gangs and sold drugs.
Kingma said Sandhu minimized his role in two violent assaults for which he pleaded guilty in 2010 and 2012.
The first occurred in March 2010 and the pregnant victim told police Sandhu had broken into her home, knocked her to the ground and threatened her with brass knuckles.
Yet when he testified before Kingma, Sandhu claimed he was there but that a friend was the one who assaulted the woman.
Then there was the incident on Granville Street in February 2012 where he hit a stranger in the head with a brick. He told Kingma the assault only occurred because the stranger and his friends had stabbed one of Sandhu’s friends.
“The explanation of coming to the aid of a friend is inconsistent with the fact that the appellant subsequently pled guilty to assault with a weapon while no charges were brought against those who had allegedly attacked his friend with a knife,” Kingma said.
“The appellant acknowledged negative behaviour patterns as a teenager and young adult but offered only tepid personal responsibility for the convictions. He rationalized the events and offered self-serving explanations.”
She said that while Sandhu’s wife, a law student, appears to be a positive influence in his life, they only married in August 2015 and live in different provinces.
The couple started dating just weeks before Sandhu was charged with second-degree murder for the January 2014 slaying of Red Scorpion gang leader Matt Campbell in Abbotsford. The charge was stayed in February 2015 and Sandhu was released from jail.
Kingma said neither Sandhu nor his wife “provided credible explanations for the decision to get married when they did or why they got married far away from family and community and in a small, civil event, in a province where they were not and would not be cohabiting until 2017 at the earliest.”
Kingma also rejected Sandhu’s argument that he would not be able to adapt to life in India.
“It was not established that there would be undue hardship to the appellant upon removal to his country of nationality. He would have to adjust given that he has lived in Canada for much of his life but he has family in India and is familiar with the customs and language,” she said.