After a long battle to remain in Canada,
Maxine gets her papers
In January 2016, Maxine (not her real name), a 52-year old woman from the Caribbean,
came to my office for assistance in regularizing her status.
She has had been “out of status” for about 24 years.
Since 2012, Maxine had been reporting to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) on a regular basis, keeping the Agency informed about her address and other particulars. But in March 2016, she received the bad news: She was asked to make arrangements to leave Canada.
Maxine came to Canada in 1991 with a work permit and was employed as a domestic. In August 1993, her two minor sons joined her as visitors and she subsequently obtained student authorizations for them. At that time she was legally employed in Canada.
On or about 2005, she entered into a common law relationship with a Canadian citizen which continued until 2009 when her spouse died. She currently receives benefits from the Canadian Government, as his surviving spouse.
Maxine’s two sons were married to Canadian citizens but between 2012 and 2013 both of them were removed from Canada to their country of citizenship. They were eventually sponsored by their respective spouses and returned to Canada as permanent residents. For the past six years, they have been residing with their spouses and children.
Maxine has been living in Canada for approximately 27 years. She previously made a refugee claim and was given a departure order. She also applied for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment which was denied. As a result, the departure order that was issued in 2009 became an enforceable deportation order.
When she first came to my office, she seemed to have lost all hope of remaining in Canada. But she was encouraged to pursue a new application based on her current circumstances. Her sons were permanent residents with children and she was ” a big part” of their lives.
She understood there was no guarantee that her application would be successful but she decided to heed my advice and put in the application.
In February 2016 my office forwarded a detailed and extensive Humanitarian and Compassionate submission, together with numerous supporting documents to the Backlog Reduction Office in Vancouver. We requested that Maxine be allowed to remain in Canada on the grounds of: (1) Links with Family Members, (2) Establishment in Canada, (3) Best Interests of the Child and (4) Hardships. Each criteria was individually addressed, with credible and trustworthy supporting documents.
A separate detailed letter with relevant documents was forwarded to the then Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, pleading with him to use his good offices to intervene in her matter so that she may remain in Canada. It was also pointed out that she had to report to CBSA on March 7, 2016.
In her letter, Maxine wrote “I know Canada has a reputation around the world to be compassionate and helpful to the needy, destitute and vulnerable persons and I reach out to you for compassion, as I have read of your immense compassion and understanding of immigrant’s plights, especially refugees and other cases, and hope you can exercise the same compassion on me. Remember, I have been here for 24 years and settled, by removing me I will become unsettled and exposed to the jaws of hardship, risk and destitution.”
When Maxine reported for removal on March 7, 2016, she was advised by the CBSA officer there was no need for her to report any more for removal and they will contact her if necessary. That brought some hope to Maxine, as she believed the letter sent to the Minister must have had some effect.
On June 10, 2016, Maxine received a letter which was copied to my office which stated that the letter “refers to her application for permanent residence from within Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. On June 10, 2016 a representative of the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration approved your request for an exemption but had to now meet other requirements such as security and medicals.”
Maxine was elated upon hearing the good news which was of immense relief as there was no longer an imminent threat of deportation.
It was a long road since then as she had to undergo medical exams and obtain a police certificate from her country and Canada. She also had to obtain a valid passport which took some time and it was forwarded to the immigration officer who approved her case.
She was then asked to attend the Etobicoke office of Citizenship and Immigration Canada in the latter part of last month to receive her permanent resident document. She was ecstatic that her long struggle was then over and she could move forward as a permanent resident and hopefully one day become a Canadian citizen.
Congratulations, Maxine and all the best.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specializes in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.