Immigration is now a hot topic in major news media in the United States and various politicians and commentators are speaking out against President Donald Trump’s stringent laws with respect to the deportation of all undocumented immigrants in that country, totaling nearly 13 million. Is this a humanitarian way of dealing with the undocumented? This burning question must be addressed.
Here in Canada there is a growing a problem at some of our border crossings as large number of persons without status are entering the country in their attempts to escape mass deportation from the United States and seek safe haven. Should the Canadian government allow them to remain?
There is a provision in Canada’s immigration laws that allows any person who is in Canada to make an application under humanitarian and compassionate grounds. Such a person must prove that there is hardship in making the application in his home country and that there are immense compelling reasons to make such an application in Canada.
Let us examine a case in Canada that was recently decided in a positive manner – the case of Sam (not real name).
In February 2016 my office forwarded an application for permanent residence in Canada on Sam’s behalf, to the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) office in Vancouver, British Columbia. Of course, there is no guarantee on the outcome of an application because each application is assessed on its own merit.
Sam came to Canada in late 2000 from St. Vincent when he was ten years old, and remained continuously in Canada without applying for an extension of his visitor’ status. Almost two years ago, he was charged with an offence relating to impaired driving and as a result, he was requested to report to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) where an Exclusion Order was issued against him.
In my submissions on humanitarian grounds I noted that a decision on the criminal charge was outstanding and if convicted, Sam would be inadmissible to Canada, and will be requesting a Temporary Resident Permit to overcome his criminal inadmissibility.
Sam’s single parent , five siblings (all minors) and his girlfriend who were all very supportive of his application for permanent residence in Canada and provided detailed letters of support on his behalf.
Sam shares an extremely close bond with his mother and his siblings and has been a constant presence in their lives.
His mother is a single parent who works multiple jobs to provide for her children and would have been greatly impacted if Sam was required to leave Canada, as he takes care of his siblings while his mother is at work.
The closeness of the bond between Sam and his relatives along with other factors, were explained in my submissions. These other factors included Sam’s establishment and integration into the Canadian society, the best interests of his siblings, separation from a parent, and an assessment of hardship he would face, if required to return to St. Vincent to apply in the normal manner.
In March 2016, Sam was called for an interview at the office of the CBSA in Mississauga, Ontario. At that time he was informed that he can apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). My firm also represented him in this matter and the necessary application forms and submissions were forwarded within the required timeframes.
In January 2017, Sam was again called in for an interview with CBSA as a decision was made with respect to his PRRA application. At this interview Sam was informed that his PRRA application would not be considered as his application for permanent residence in Canada was approved in principle, subject to him meeting the requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations with respect to inadmissibility.
Sam was further advised if he wishes to work or study in Canada, he needs to request and receive employment or student authorization.
Upon hearing the good news, Sam was elated.
Clearly, our immigration laws with respect to illegals are lenient and compassionate compared to Donald Trump’s immigration policy. The case of Sam is but one example.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specializes in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario. Suite 219A. Phone 416 789 5756.