By Sukhram Ramkissoon
Longtime readers of this column may recall the case of a landed immigrant from the Caribbean whom I referred to as Horace.
Several years ago, Horace, who I represented at immigration hearings, was successful in his fight against deportation for “serious criminality.”
In 2003, he had been charged with a series of criminal offences – assault with a weapon; threatening death; pointing a firearm; use of a firearm to commit an indictable offence; weapons dangerous, and criminal harassment. He was convicted of only one of these offences – assault with a weapon. The other charges were withdrawn, and he served one day and three months in pre-sentence custody.
Horace appealed the deportation order and after he was granted several stays of removal by the Immigration Appeal Division (IAD), the order was finally quashed in 2013.The panel member had found that Horace had complied with all the conditions of his stays and there were no outstanding charges or convictions. At the time, he also had outstanding fines for traffic offences in the amount of $36,000 but the panel member stated that he was of the opinion that the IAD should not be the collector for the provinces.
By January 2015, Horace again found himself in trouble with the law. He sold crack cocaine to an undercover officer from the Toronto Drug Squad on two separate occasions. On the first occasion, he received $60.00 from the undercover officer and on the second occasion he collected $80.00 in marked bills and was arrested and charged.
Horace pleaded guilty to the trafficking charge and was sentenced to 90 days intermittent imprisonment. As a result of this conviction, Horace was again ordered deported, and he again appealed the removal order.
I represented him when his appeal came up for hearing before the IAD in April 2018. He testified in a credible and forthright manner, admitting his past criminal activities, and expressing remorse. He informed the panel that he came to Canada in December 1998 at the age of 18 and attended school for a short period. He has been living in Canada for over 20 years and was presently working as a qualified welder and his skills are in demand; he has an average yearly income in the range of $52,000.
In granting relief, the member of the panel stated that Horace has lived all his adult life in Canada, has upgraded his education and is working regularly and that he has his father, siblings and has a future wife with a Canadian child, who works and resides overseas. Further, he has other Canadian- born children who are reliant on his presence and support in Canada. It was found that there will be hardship in Horace relocating to the Caribbean.
In the panel’s view, a stay of removal was warranted and granted a stay for three years with a number of conditions which was to be reconsidered in April 2021. In June, the Minister informed the IAD that Horace had violated four conditions of his stay, such as he was not employed, owed the court $200.00, has unpaid fine totaling $40,282.00, and that he is in arrears of over $20,220,00 in child support.
Horace had a conference with the IAD in June 2021 in which he satisfied most of the concerns or alleged breaches set out by the Minister. At the end of the hearing, Horace was requested to provide a letter from his previous employer and pay the fine of $200.00; another hearing was scheduled in late September 2021. Before the matter came up for that hearing he presented evidence to the IAD and Minister that he has now fully complied with all conditions as set out in his stay order.
Horace then received a final notice from the Immigration Appeal Division which states “that in compliance with his stay conditions, the humanitarian and compassionate conditions present in the case, and the Minister consent to the appeal being allowed, the say is cancelled, and the removal order set aside, and the appeal is allowed.” Horace was very fortunate to overcome two deportation orders, and if he ever finds himself in any further criminal activities in the future, it is presumed that he will not be so fortunate.
Good luck Horace.
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