‘No shows’ now requested to report to CBSA
In one of my coloumns last month, I highlighted a case of a woman from the Caribbean, who failed to report for removal arrangements. Years after being directed to leave Canada, she submitted a Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application, requesting special consideration based on her particular situation.
Her H & C application was pending for over one year when a Senior Immigration Officer wrote to my office, stating that before a final decision is made on her application, she was required to deal with an outstanding warrant for her removal and should contact Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and make arrangements to do so. My office immediately contacted CBSA but on that very day she came to the attention of the police on an unrelated matter.
It was then discovered that there was an outstanding immigration warrant for her arrest, and she was handed over to CBSA. She informed an officer that her counsel was making arrangements to have the warrant executed and was in possession of a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) requesting her to do so.
However, the CBSA officer ordered a cash bond of $10,000 for her release. Fortunately, she had a friend who was in a financial position to post such a bond on her behalf. A couple of days later, she received a letter informing her that her application to remain in Canada was approved and that she could apply for a work permit.
Since then I have noticed that CBSA is taking a much more lienent approach in dealing with these matters. Those who report after being requested to do so, are released on their own recognizance.
At the present time there are thousands of persons in Canada who are in one of three categories – In Status, Out of Status or Did Not Report For Removal. A large number of those in the Did Not Report For Removal category may have been in Canada for several years as undocumented immigrants.
Many of these persons have submitted H & C applications to regularise their status in their last desperate hope of remaining in Canada. Many of their applications are now pending for over one year.
Most of these applicants have lived productive lives in Canada, They have no criminal record, have established themselves, have Canadian-born children and will face tremendous hardships if they are deported.
Some who have children in Canada are unable to access any government benefits, are victims of employer exploitation and discrimination, are paid poor wages, live in sub-standard conditions and are in constant fear of deportation.
Yet they insist that their present situation is far better than what they would face back in the countries from which they came and are asking for a chance to regularize their status and make Canada their home.
The CBSA is now scheduling interviews to execute outstanding warrants for all those who have pending H & C applications. In most cases, IRCC will request that the warrant be executed before an approval is granted. But at times this aspect is overlooked. It is only after applicant are approved in principle, that the officers will request that they deal with their outstanding warrant within 30 days.
Let us look at a recent scenario.
A client from the Caribbean who has been in Canada for many years and was the subject of an outstanding immigration warrant, submitted an H&C application through my office. She based her application on establishment, hardship, long work history, community and family ties and the best interest of her child. Fortunately, her application was approved in principle and she was granted an exemption to remain in Canada.
However, a few weeks ago after submitting proof of her medicals, updated application forms and payment of her permanent residence fee, she was advised that being the subject to an outstanding immigration warrant, she should contact CBSA to execute the warrant within 30 days. The writer accompanied her to CBSA and the warrant was executed with no problems.
Some of my clients are now being requested to appear for an interview with respect to their pending H&C applications.. They were subjects to outstanding warrants as they failed to show up for removal. Of course, many were scared of being arrested as a result of their non-compliance.However, they were released on their own recognizance and ordered to report monthly by email.
I understand that this will be more or less the routine procedure for those in similar situations. But of course, each case is assessed differently. However with the current pandemic, CBSA is not removing anyone at the present time due to border closures.
Persons in situations as discussed in this column should seek professional advice and be forthright and credible in their answers to the officers. Any misrepresentation or evasiveness may lead to non-release.
SUKHRAM RAMKISSOON is a member of ICCRC and specialises in Immigration Matters at No. 3089 Bathurst Street, Suite 219A, Toronto, Ontario. Phone 416 789 5756.