Mike gets a second chance

Everyone makes mistakes and deserves a second chance.

But not everyone gets  it.

Mike ( not his real name)  from Trinidad is one of the fortunate ones who got that second chance.

Let us look this week at the story of Mike who was convicted in a Canadian court of drug trafficking,  an indictable offence which carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

Mike was ordered to serve five months in prison and 27 days house arrest.

A relatively short jail sentence.

But that was not the end of his problems.

Mike faced deportation.

According to Immigration law, ” a permanent resident or a foreign national is inadmissible on grounds of serious criminality for having been convicted in Canada of an offence under an Act of Parliament punishable by a maximum term of imprisonment of at least 10 years, or of an offence under an Act of Parliament for which a term of imprisonment of more than six months has been imposed;

Back in  December 2013, he  was convicted of drug trafficking and shortly afterwards, he

received a letter from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) informing him that there were  reasonable grounds to believe that he was inadmissible to Canada and as a result of his criminal conviction  a report has been prepared.  The letter further stated that a decision to allow him to remain in Canada or seek a removal would be made in the near future and the next step would be a complete review of his circumstances.

In the letter, Mike was also informed that he could make additional submissions to provide reasons why a removal order should not be issued and that the submissions may include details relevant to his case, including but not limited to:

  • His age at the time he acquired permanent residence in Canada;
  • What courses or programs, including documentation, and the steps he took towards rehabilitation;
  • The length of time spent, and the degree to which he was established in Canada;
  • His family in Canada and the dislocation to the family that his removal would cause;
  • The family and community support available to him; and
  • The degree of hardship that would be caused to him if he were to be removed to his country of nationality.

He was given up to mid-March 2014 to comply with the requirements of this letter. Upon receiving it, Mike consulted my firm for assistance. Once retained on his behalf, my office requested an extension of the period of time which Mike was allowed. He was granted an extension to mid-April 2014.

I advised him to obtain certain types of documentation which would assist the officer in making a favorable decision.  Upon receipt of statements and other documents I made extensive and detailed submissions with respect to the allegations brought against him by CBSA and requested a positive consideration based on the claim that he was wrongly convicted and provided detailed information about the circumstances of his arrest.

It was discovered that some of the information provided by the police – such as h is cell phone number and other personal details -were incorrect . Although he had pleaded guilty to  the trafficking charge, he maintained that he was not guilty and explained the circumstance under which he was  advised to plead guilty.

He also provided proof of the following:  Courses/Programs he completed towards Rehabilitation, Degree of Establishment, Family Ties/Support Available in Canada, Best Interests of the Child and Hardships That Would Be Faced If Removed from Canada. These submissions and supporting documentation were forwarded to CBSA in early April 2014.

It took CBSA two years and nine months to consider whether Mike would  be allowed to remain in Canada. Then good news came earlier this month. My office received a letter from CBSA on behalf of Mike, stating as follows: “You are a person in Canada who has been reported to the Minister for criminal activity under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This information is now a permanent part of your immigration record. The circumstances of your case have been considered carefully and the department will not be proceeding with removal action at the present time.

Mike’s case may be reviewed in the future should new information come to the attention of CBSA or any further criminal convictions be registered against him. Should such a review occur, a decision to pursue enforcement action, s may result in Mike’s removal from Canada. But he has been given a second chance.

Mike. make the best use of this opportunity and reach for the stars.

SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specializes in Immigration Matters at 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario.  Phone 416-789-5756.