By Sukhram Ramkissoon
After a decade of immigration struggles in Canada resulting in the deportation of a husband and his recent return on a Temporary Resident Permit the entire family was granted permanent status last week.
They requested that I refer to them in this column as Devon, Roanna and their son Junior from the Caribbean. Roanna and Junior came to Canada in mid-2000 and her common-law partner Devon arrived in Canada late the following year.
They all remained in Canada as undocumented immigrants and sought legal advice in 2008 from Cindy Ramkissoon-Shears at my firm, who advised they submit a humanitarian and compassionate application. There had extensive family ties in Canada as they were the parents of two Canadian-born children, established and integrated into the community, among many other compelling factors.
An application was submitted on behalf of this family in late 2008. However, the following summer, Devon was detained by Immigration due to his lack of status and given a removal order.
He was released and allowed to apply for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment which was rejected in early 2010. He was told they were unable to find his humanitarian and compassionate application despite credible proof that it was sent by registered mail and he was in possession of a tracking number. He was removed from Canada in December 2009 by means of an exclusion order.
Our office immediately submitted a copy of the said application in August 2009 by registered post and was again informed they were unable to locate this second application. In 2011, we wrote the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration telling him of the circumstances of our client’s predicament with respect to the several applications sent by traceable means and the CIC response that they cannot locate same. These clients were frustrated and upset but exonerated us as they were satisfied the applications were sent by traceable means.
In the meantime, in December 2011 Devon attempted to return to Canada to visit his wife and children as there was no prohibition for him to return to Canada. He was held at the airport and detained as Immigration suspected he would remain illegally and he was subject to a detention review by the Immigration Division.
I represented him and he was ordered released on a bond as it was not his intention to remain illegally in Canada because he had stable employment in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He just wanted to see his family for the holiday season.
He was released on a bond for 30 days and spent this precious time with his family in Canada and thereafter returned to his employment in the Virgin Islands.
We were then contacted by the minister’s office to send copies of all our applications with all tracking numbers, receipts etc. and in December 2012 we received a phone call from a senior officer requesting us to update all the forms and information for the clients.
The application was approved on behalf of this family within Canada in February 2013 and a few months later he was instructed to contact the Canadian Embassy at Port of Spain to apply for a visa and authorization to return to Canada.
The visa office instructed him to provide a police clearance from his country of birth and one from the U.S. Virgin Islands, to pay the processing fees and to undergo medicals. All this took some time and he was eventually granted a Temporary Resident Permit to return to Canada.
He re-entered Canada on this permit in December 2014 to be reunited with his family and they were all granted permanent resident status last week. Devon and his family were very happy as he is now able to return legally to his former employment. This was a long struggle for this family and clearly shows the trials and tribulations of Devon.
Sukhram Ramkissoon is a member of ICCRC and specializes in immigration matters at 3089 Bathurst St., Toronto. Phone 416-789-5756.