Refugee

Update – October 7, 2018
GOOD NEWS FOR GEORGE & DAISY, MARK & LUTCHINA

Some of you may recall that we encountered problems with sponsorship of our second family, from Syria.  They were invited to the Canadian Embassy in Beirut for an interview on March 20th. George had been living in Lebanon, while Daisy and the kids were denied entry beforehand. The Immigration Officer treated them unjustly, unfairly assessed their case, and denied their application on Friday, March 23rd. Daisy and the children were forced to return to live with her parents in a war-torn region near Damascus, Syria.

We had a short time to choose to oppose the decision, or abandon the application and all our efforts and start anew with another application and possibly another family. Our Refugee sponsorship committee agreed to contest the decision.

We contacted an immigration lawyer, recommended by our contacts with RSTP [Refugee Sponsorship Traning Program].  Leigh Salsberg of Toronto prepared to represent the case. On July 31st, she filed the 191-page Application of Record setting out the facts of the legitimacy of the application, and their eligibility for protection as Syrian convention refugees, as offered by the Canadian government.  On August 29th, Department of Justice officials representing IRCC [Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada] offered to settle the case out of court. Originally they were not willing to commit to an expedited timeline adjustment. We pushed and they agreed to give priority due to fact their errors caused considerable delay putting the file behind others received at the same time.  We can be thankful for Leigh: she put a lot of work into it, did a thorough job and was fully prepared to challenge the denial decision in court on our behalf. We were favourably billed at a lower rate similar to Ontario legal aid clients {our cost was just short of $5,000.total}. We may need to raise some funds to help cover this added expense.

On Monday, October 1st, we received official word from our lawyer: the copy registered October 1, 2018 in Federal Court of a motion in writing on behalf of the respondendent {Dept of Justice lawyers representing IRCC}  “for an order setting aside the decision of Immigration Officer of Visa Office in Beirut, Lebanon, dated March 23, 2018 refusing the Applicants’ application for permanent residence in Canada as members of the Convention Refugee Abroad class or as members of the Humanitarian-protected persons abroad designated class; 

THIS COURT ORDERS that 
(a) The decisoin of an Immigration Officer … in Beirut, Lebanon, dated March 23, 2018, … is set aside.  
(b) The matter is remitted to a different officer for redetermination on a priority basis.”
So, the file goes back to the embassy in Beirut now.  Leigh said they will likely ask for updated forms, possibly also for updated documentation and possibly another interview.  She suggested if we find delays in hearing from the embassy to get our MP to follow up.. For now, we wait.

The whole family finally escaped Syria and are now living in Lebanon. Communication is poor and sporadic. I emailed the court ruling to them but I haven’t yet had response to indicate they received it.
PRAY: for them and patience, for the process and a just official, and that if God wills, they are given a chance to start a new life here in Charlottetown by early next year.

 

Update – Friday, Aug 10

Daisy sent an email on Wednesday, August 8th —the first message I received since July 20th. She is now with the family in Lebanon. She crossed the border and entered [illegally] on Saturday, August 4th. She said the way was terrible, she was exhausted, and the last week was very difficult for her; but now she is happy to be together with her family.

The other good news is that on Monday, August 6th, they had an appointment with the UNHCR [United Nations High Commission for Refugees] and the family is now registered with a UNHCR file number.

The internet connection isn’t good in the area where they are….but George was able to send another message with a picture of the family from his new phone using WhatsApp. He is giving a lot of thanks.

We’re waiting to hear word concerning the court case. The lawyer representing us and the family filed the Application of Record in Toronto federal court on July 31st with supporting arguments and facts for the Application for Leave and for Judicial Review, filed on May 22, 2018.

Lawyers for federal Department of Justice have one month in which to respond to the challenge. We will have to wait patiently to see the outcome and whether or not IRCC opposes the motion to dismiss the ruling against the Nakhleh family. In the meantime we ask everyone to pray for George, Daisy, Mark and Lulu.

I received this picture later from George. He’s a very happy man to have Daisy join them in Lebanon.

Paul Stevenson

Announcement re Challenge of Nakleh Decision – 2018-07-20