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Immigration arrests in Lev Tahor community

By: The Canadian Press

 | Apr 02, 2014 - 2:36 PM |
Canada Border Services Agency agents take a member of the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect Lev Tahor into custody in Chatham, Ont., on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho-Ashton Patis, BlackburnNews.com EDS NOTE: Mantatory credit to: Ashton Patis, BlackburnNews.com with the use of this photo.

Canada Border Services Agency agents take a member of the ultra-orthodox Jewish sect Lev Tahor into custody in Chatham, Ont., on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ho-Ashton Patis, BlackburnNews.com EDS NOTE: Mantatory credit to: Ashton Patis, BlackburnNews.com with the use of this photo.

CHATHAM, Ont. - The executive director of the children's aid society in Chatham, Ont., says the Canada Border Services Agency has arrested seven members of an ultra-orthodox Jewish sect over immigration issues.

Stephen Doig says Chatham-Kent Children's Services co-operated with the CBSA, who arrested seven Lev Tahor members "who are believed to be in violation of Canada's immigration policy/laws."

Doig says those seven people are known to have 28 children and that kids in cases where both parents in a family have been detained and there is no alternate caregiver are now in care — though he did not give an exact number.

Doig says it's unclear how long the children will be in care.

The CBSA says in a statement that a number of warrants were executed in Chatham today for suspected Immigration and Refugee Protection Act violations, though it does not mention the Lev Tahor community by name.

Two families in the Lev Tahor community are at the centre of an ongoing child custody case.

Eight Lev Tahor children were apprehended last month after leaving Chatham with their families ahead of a custody hearing — six had gone to Trinidad and Tobago while two others were found in Calgary.

Six other children, who are also part of the child custody case, remain in Guatemala where they fled with their parents and another adult.

Reached by telephone Wednesday, a member of the community who is a teacher said through tears that he could not talk. The sound of wailing children could be heard in the background.

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