Monday, June 17, 2013

Report: Deaf Man Refused Citizenship for being Deaf

Canada has refused to allow a Russian painter to immigrate because he is deaf. Dmitri Smirnov was unable to pass the verbal language test--although he performed well on the test when allowed to answer in American Sign Language. Smirnov has been working as a commercial and residential painter but his work permit was expiring soon, so he applied last year to stay in Canada as a permanent resident. When an immigration officer refused his application in November, Smirnov appealed to the Federal Court of Canada, arguing the rules requiring the test be taken verbally discriminate against the deaf, but the court turned him away. The Canadian Hearing Society's Chris Kenopic says he is shocked by the decision and is quoted by the National Post as saying, “The federal government is not recognizing sign language as a means of communication." Before coming to Canada seven years ago, Smirnov lived in the U.S. where he learned ASL. Read a detailed review of the case here.

1 comment:

Matt K.D. said...

This title is misleading. Read the court papers and you will see that they did not turn down his citizenship because he was Deaf, but rather his lack of reading and writing the English language. I am a Deaf man myself and since you can see that my English is proficient, I will definitely pass this citizenship test if I apply.

Quote from the court papers:

"...the reading and writing scores, which were equal to and lower than the prescribed CLB of 4, respectively. It was reasonable for the officer to come to the conclusion that the applicant did not meet the language requirements based on these two (2) results alone." [27]

"...there is no evidence that deaf persons would have greater difficulty reading and writing than non-deaf persons..." [34]