Father faces deportation

Posted by admin on May 28th, 2009

Kristen Thompson, 28 May 2009, Metro vancouver

Fernando Navarro gets teary-eyed when talking about his 10 children, and the soon-to-be born 11th whom he might never meet. The Surrey roofer, who came to Canada 12 years ago from his native Honduras, has been ordered deported for what he says is a communication glitch from lost paperwork in Ottawa. “I leave (for work) everyday thinking of when the (deportation) day comes,” said Navarro, 29. “I don’t know if I’ll see (my kids) again. I don’t want to go to my country. I never expected this to happen to me. I thought I was safe here.”

Navarro and his wife, Rochelle, are desperate to convince the Ministry of Immigration to overturn his June deportation, which will leave the stay-at-home mom without an income and a partner.

“If he goes back, my kids will be just devastated,” said Rochelle, breaking down in tears. “All we want is for them to reopen the case.”

Fernando said he was sent to Canada by a drug lord to work off his father’s debts.

After meeting Rochelle — who already had three children and custody of her cousin’s son, who was born addicted to heroin and crack — he abandoned the drug lord.

Applications to stay as a refugee or be sponsored were denied, and the couple applied to allow Fernando to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, saying he could be killed if sent back to Honduras.

The government required he fly to Ottawa to get a Honduran passport, but the Navarros say when they moved to their new home in December, their change of address letter was lost by the Immigration Ministry.

“They sent a registered letter to the old address saying we had until Jan. 25 (to get the passport), but we were unaware of this letter,” Rochelle said, adding that the Ministry then closed the case.

The couple contacted their MP, Nina Grewal, whose office forwarded a letter from the family to the government, pleading for a second chance.

Grewal could not be reached for comment yesterday.

David Aujla, an immigration lawyer in Vancouver, said it would be draconian of the government to deport Navarro simply for not having got his Honduran passport.

“From Immigration’s perspective … they say, ‘If you don’t respond (to our letters), then you’re no longer interested in (immigrating).’”

Aujla said the matter can be corrected if Grewal appeals directly to the Minister of Immigration.

“(Fernando’s) got more than enough time to get an application into federal court (for a stay of deportation),” said Aujla.

“My suspicion is once Immigration has been made aware of (the fact that the family) is here and there are humanitarian issues, then they should reverse the decision. The door is still open.”

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