Could Donald Trump or Melanie Trump be inadmissible to Canada?

inadmissibility of Donald Trump in Canada

Donald Trump, the former US president, faces multiple criminal indictments. These legal challenges, including racketeering, illegally possessing classified documents, etc., could intersect with Canadian immigration laws. An examination of these legal matters in the context of Canadian law could provide insights into potential inadmissibility under specific legal provisions. We are trying to explore if Donald Trump could be inadmissible to Canada. Of course, the final decision-makers are the immigration authorities. Nonetheless, this article will shed light on similar cases.

Potential grounds of inadmissibility for Donald Trump

Sections 33 to 43 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) outline grounds for inadmissibility in Canada. However, the following could apply to the case of President Trump.

  • Section 34 – Inadmissibility on security grounds, especially the following paragraphs:
    • 34(1)(a): Engaging in an act of espionage or an act of subversion against a democratic government, institution, or process.
    • 34(1)(d): Being a danger to the security of Canada.
  • Section 36 – Inadmissibility on criminality grounds, especially the following paragraphs:
    • 36(1)(b) – Serious criminality because of a conviction outside Canada
    • 36(1)(c) – Serious criminality because of committing an offence outside Canada
    • 36(2)(b) – Criminality because of a conviction outside Canada
    • 36(2)(c) – Criminality because of committing an offence outside Canada
  • Section 37Organized Criminality, especially the following paragraph:
    • A37(1)(b): Engaging in activity that is part of a pattern of criminal activity planned and organized by several persons acting in concert in furtherance of the commission of an offence outside Canada that, if committed in Canada, would constitute such an offence.

Of course, Canadian immigration authorities are the final decision-makers to incorporate the correct sections of the law, but my research led to these sections. Moreover, while an indictment could make a person inadmissible to Canada, President Trump would unlikely become inadmissible before an actual conviction (if it ever happens).

The approach in assessing potential inadmissibility for Donald Trump

I focused on three matters related to President Trump:

  • The current four series of indictments
  • The potential for inadmissibility because of “hate speech.”
  • Mrs. Melanie Trump’s inadmissibility in Canada

While working on these issues, I tried to pinpoint the equivalency of offences in Canada and the past behaviour of the Canadian Government. However, I must emphasize the following.

  • The current situation is unprecedented. As novel as it is for me, I believe it is pretty novel for our immigration authorities.
  • My efforts are purely academic. As a curious Canadian with many American clients, friends, and relatives, I closely follow US politics. However, I am just an observer. I respect the US judicial system and the decisions made by the people of the United States of America.
  • I believe everyone is innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt at a fair trial.
  • The equivalency table is based on my unofficial efforts. Other practitioners may find different sections of the Canadian Acts equivalent to the current charges. In fact, I invite them to comment on my findings.

The equivalency table for inadmissibility findings

The following table shows the equivalency of the charges and potential reasons for the inadmissibility of President Trump. I used Politico to locate the list of indictments.

If convicted, the most damning inadmissibility grounds are potentially the following ones:

  • The willful retention of national defence information in violation of the Espionage Act: These charges could result in inadmissibility on Security Grounds, which is not subject to rehabilitation.
  • Georgia Code § 16-14-4, the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act: This could cause inadmissibility under Organized Criminality, which is not subject to rehabilitation.

Other cases could lead to inadmissibility because of Criminality or Serious Criminality. However, there is a chance to request rehabilitation. Practically, considering President Trump’s age and health, if he becomes inadmissible to Canada, it is unlikely he ever receives rehabilitation from the Canadian authorities. We must consider the novelty of these circumstances and Donald Trump’s position as a high-rank US political figure. Canadian authorities may decide not to make him inadmissible to Canada at all. Regardless, their decision won’t be free from significant controversies. Even if Canadians deny rehabilitation, they may allow him to enter Canada with a TRP.

Could Donald Trump be inadmissible because of the indictments?

Under paragraphs 36(1)(c) and 36(2)(c) of IRPA, a person could face inadmissibility if they commit a criminal offence in their country that is also an offence in Canada. We usually consider committing as being convicted. However, bear with me on this one.

The standard of proof for indictments in the United States is “probable cause,” comparable to “reasonable grounds to believe” in Canada. Under section 33 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), the standard of proof for security, criminality, and organized criminality inadmissibilities is “reasonable grounds to believe.” Therefore, an indictment in the United States could lead to inadmissibility in Canada. Nonetheless, it’s essential to recognize that it is remotely likely that Canadians will impose inadmissibility on President Trump based on these indictments alone.

Could President Trump be inadmissible to Canada because of hate speech?

Canadian laws are less generous than US laws in offering freedom of speech. Sections 318 to 320.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada (CCC) focus on hate propaganda. The offences under these sections could result in up to five years imprisonment. However, inadmissibility under these sections won’t happen unless Donald Trump also receives a conviction for hate speech in the United States.

Despite the absence of inadmissibility because of criminality, President Trump could still be inadmissible to Canada because of hate speech under paragraph 34(1)(d) of the Immigration Act. This paragraph focuses on endangering the security of Canadians. One could argue that some of his speeches could ignite hate, xenophobia, and intolerance among Canadians. Consequently, he could become inadmissible to Canada, for that matter. Again, Canadian authorities have not pursued inadmissibility because of these reasons. If they do, his immediate option to travel to Canada is receiving a TRP and, down the road, a Ministerial Relief. The whole assumption of inadmissibility because of hate speech is considerably speculative.

Could Melanie Trump be inadmissible to Canada?

I assume Donald Trump and his wife will never immigrate to Canada. However, if they decide to travel to Canada, Melanie Trump could become inadmissible to Canada because of his husband’s inadmissibility. Her husband’s inadmissibility due to Criminality or Serious Criminality won’t make her inadmissible. However, if President Trump becomes inadmissible because of Security or Organized Criminality, Mrs. Trump could also become inadmissible to Canada.

Contact us for more information.

The inadmissibility to Canada is a complex matter. If you are facing immigration issues or have questions about this article, please complete the following form. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session with me.

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    Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, legal or professional advice. The views expressed herein are those of the author, who, as a Canadian researcher, has no intention to interfere in any shape or form in US politics or any other country’s affairs. The subject matter has been explored purely out of academic interest. While efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information presented, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the content’s completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability, or availability. Therefore, Any reliance on such information is strictly at your own risk. If you require specific legal advice, please consult a qualified legal professional in your jurisdiction.

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    Al ParsaiAl Parsai, LLM, MA, RCIC-IRB
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Adjunct Professor – Queen’s University – Faculty of Law
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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    Al Parsai

    This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.