TORONTO - Three generations of the Sebastiao family who came to Canada for a better life won’t be having a merry Christmas this year.
A one-way flight to Portugal has been booked for 10 members of the Toronto family. The extended group includes grandparents Paul Sr., 46, and Maria, 44, Sebastiao; their children Marilia, 27, Vanessa, 23, Paul Jr., 19, Beatriz, 13, and their four Canadian-born grandchildren under the age of five.
They have exhausted all their immigration appeals are being deported on Dec. 29 to Lisbon, their counsel said.
Toronto immigration lawyers and workers said they’ve never heard of so many members of one family being deported at one time. Some called it a “mass removal.”
The Sebastiaos’ arrived in Canada in 2001 and filed refugee claims, which were turned down. They tried to remain on humanitarian and compassionate grounds and that was also tossed out in July 2011.
“We are totally stressed out and devastated,” Marilia said on Friday. “We don’t have a house or anything to go back to in Portugal.”
Marilia said her parents are saddened to leave their friends and return home.
“They (my parents) worked hard for everything they now have in this country,” she said. “Now we all have to go home and start over from scratch.”
Marilia, who has a hotdog stand, is being sponsored to stay in Canada by her husband, Erdogan, but the application is being processed. Erdogan is a housing contractor and the family own two homes.
“My father is trying to sell his car and all the furniture,” she said. “Canada is our home and all our family and friends are in this country.”
The Sebastiaos’ legal counsel, Tony Dutra, said the family is being split for Christmas.
“This is sad and tragic situation that is taking place at this time of the year,” Dutra said. “The government is splitting up this family and four Canadian kids are being taken out of the country.”
He said family members have purchased their own airline tickets for the trip home and can return if sponsored by their spouses.
“These people have been here for more than 10 years and have never been on welfare,” Dutra said. “The grandchildren were raised and educated in Canada.”
Officer Amy Wong, of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), in a letter, said the Sebastiaos’ claimed refugee status in 2007, six years after arriving in Canada, only after police discovered they were here illegally.
“It is important to note that the children are Canadian citizens and are not under removal orders,” Wong said. “They may return to Canada at any time.”
Wong said the family were well-established in Portugal with all the kids completing their education. She said Paul Sr. worked in construction there for 20-years and the family were “economic migrants.”
Forgive my ignorance, but what are the current hardships in Portugal right now compelling citizens there to flee to Canada as refugees....?
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Hoodwinkle wrote:Some called it a “mass removal.”
Immigration = The Fourth Reich.
Go become an immigration lawyer and help them stay then.
I'm sick of these "refugee claimants", move to Darfur spend a week in a camp, then tell me about how bad it is in Europe.
By the way, they were given a departure order, if they had of left 30 days after their claim was adjudicated they could have come back the next day.
I'd also be interested to hear about how their immigration status came to the police's attention. Somehow I don't think it was a speeding ticket...
Hoodwinkle wrote:Maybe you had too much moose milk to drink but, I was quoting the article where it referenced "mass removal"...which in my opinion the article/quoted was making a half baked reference to nazi mass deportations or other dictatorships. Clear?
That's what I thought.
IrishCanadian wrote:This thread is clearly cursed, and should be left to die.
I think that its important that we discuss this matter. As even to day I was asked what I thought. They believe the government was being unfair, that we should let them stay.
I explained my opinion and the law,these people chose to move to Canada illegally, a decision that was entirely of their own volition. The lived here illegally for seven years (from 2001 to 2007) not paying income taxes. They finally came to the attention of immigration by the police and were going to be remove (for one year) and decided to make a refugee claim so they could stay. Their refugee claim was denied and they had 30 days to confirm departure before they became "deemed deported". They chose not to confirm their departure order and wait for the results of the Pre-Removal Risk Assessment and Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Applications, and thus became deemed deported. If their cases had any merits they would have been made permanent residence in Canada, they weren't.
Do I feel sorry for the children? Yes, however, it was the parents who put them in that position. If the parents hadn't made refugee claims or confirmed departure on time they likely would have been able to comeback within a year. They chose the course of action and thus must live with the repercussions of such action.
Not to mention the cost to the Canadian taxpayers to process their refugee claims and subsequent applications, which I've heard fall in the range of $50,000 - $100,000.
In short, they are the creators of their own demise.
Needless to say, the person who felt the government was perpetrating an injustice quickly accepted that the Canadian government was more than fair with the individuals.
I'd also like to point out that the Minister doesn't have the authority to ignore removal orders as the heartfelt pleas of the family suggest.
Removal orders have the force of law which the Minister is called upon to execute. The Minister does not have an unlimited discretion to deal with removal orders, but stands in relation to removal orders as does any other public officer in relation to a statutory duty. The discretion which is in issue is found in section 48 which provides that a removal order shall be executed "as soon as reasonably practicable". It is significant that the grant of discretion is found in the same section imposing the obligation to execute removal orders.
Aside from questions of travel arrangements and fitness to travel, the execution of the order can only be affected by some other process occurring within the framework of the Act since the Minister has no authority to refuse to execute the order. Accordingly, a request for deferral can be made only in the context of some collateral process which might impinge upon the enforceability of the removal order.
Wang v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2001 FCT 148 (CanLII),  3 FC 682, <http://canlii.ca/t/pqg>
 As to irreparable harm related to their ownership of a condominium, this is not the type of harm which justifies a stay. Moreover, the Applicant is the creator of his own mischief. The Applicant took on his married status and economic burdens in the face of a finding that he had no status in Canada.
 It has been said in other cases and will be said again, a party cannot create the circumstances of the harm which they then rely upon in order to secure a stay.
Benedict v. Canada (Solicitor General), 2004 FC 555 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/1gww8>
 The removal of persons who have remained in Canada without status will always disrupt the lives that they have succeeded in building here. This is likely to be particularly true of young children who have no memory of the country that they left. Nonetheless, the kinds of hardship typically occasioned by removal cannot, in my view, constitute irreparable harm for the purpose of the Toth rule, otherwise stays would have to be granted in most cases, provided only that there is a serious issue to be tried: Melo v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) 2000 CanLII 16251 (FC), (2000), 188 F.T.R. 29.
 I am not persuaded that the adult appellants' success in finding employment (which they will lose on removal), their commitment to improving their vocational qualifications, and their community involvement, are sufficient to demonstrate that their situation is any different from that of most others who face removal. Similarly, their child's separation from his school and friends pending the disposition of the appeal is a routine, if painful, incident of removal.
 The social and economic roots that the appellants have started to put down in Canada during the nearly four years that they have legitimately pursued all legal means of obtaining permanent residence status cannot in themselves provide the basis for a finding that the appellants' removal before their appeal is decided will cause them irreparable harm.
Ghanaseharan v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration), 2004 FCA 261 (CanLII), <http://canlii.ca/t/1hfwg>
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