Joe Callahan fined $5,000 for smuggling two Latinos into Canada

American who brought refugees to Canada now expelled

Judge says Joe Callahan allowed his humanitarian convictions to cloud his judgment
CBC News Posted: Nov 2, 2012 2:01 PM ET Last Updated: Nov 2, 2012 1:56 PM ET

An American man was relieved he didn’t wake up in a Thunder Bay jail on Friday.

On Thursday afternoon, a judge fined Joe Callahan $5,000 for helping two acquaintances from central America illegally come into Canada at the Pigeon River border crossing.

Just outside the courtroom, Joe Callahan signed an agreement to pay his fine within 60 days.

“I’m relieved, yes, and happy,” he said.

After Callahan was arrested in July of 2011, he spent a month in jail awaiting bail.
Jay and Shelagh Callahan, the siblings of Joe Callahan, said they are happy with a Thunder Bay judge’s ruling in their brother’s case. (Nicole Ireland/CBC)

His younger sister, Shelagh Callahan, applauds the judge’s decision not to send him back there.

“I just didn’t want him to have to go through any more … any more time,” she said.

Callahan’s family came from all over the United States to support him in court.

In the end, the judge said the 62-year-old social activist allowed his humanitarian convictions to cloud his judgment.

The judge said she was satisfied Callahan is not a human trafficker and that time already served, plus a fine, was enough of a deterrent.
Like won’t be allowed to return

Jay Callahan said his older brother received a fair sentence.

“The attempt to … help these immigrants was very lame … (and) did not show the intent of … a human smuggler or somebody really trying to commit a crime … (it) was really stupid,” he said.
While sentencing Joe Callahan, pictured above, a Thunder Bay judge said he allowed his humanitarian convictions to cloud his judgment. (

Joe Callahan will soon be on his way home to Minneapolis. He was required to report to authorities at the Pigeon River border crossing Friday morning, where they were to expel him from Canada.

He said he’s sorry he likely won’t be allowed to return.

“If I show up at the Pigeon River border crossing saying I want to come to Thunder Bay, they’re not going to let me come, I don’t think,” Callahan said.

“No, I think the computer will show me barred from Canada.”

Callahan said he met many friends in Canada supported him through his court case, and argued he should not go to jail.

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Article posted in Crime, Human trafficking/Slavery
  • Thyme Season

    Question: Why did he bring them to Canada? It is like illegal trash dumping.
    The “two acquaintances from central America ” were probably smuggled by him into the USA and he was too afraid to keep them in his basement…
    What a despicable individual. We should have kept him in Canada and send him to do community work for a few good years.
    “While sentencing Joe Callahan, (…), a Thunder Bay judge said he allowed his humanitarian convictions to cloud his judgment. ”
    Humanitarian convictions?!
    That judge’s judgement is also clouded. But not by his/her “humanitarian convictions”.
    … just wondering if a human smuggler of another race or ethnicity would have been released for $5,000…
    Callahan is nothing but a filthy smuggler. Treat him such as.