Family threatened with deportation due to daughter's illness
Published Wednesday, December 30, 2009 5:49PM EST
A French family who immigrated to Montreal is fighting to stay in the country after Canadian authorities threatened to deport them because their daughter has cerebral palsy.
David Barlagne emigrated from France in 2005 with his wife, Sophie, and his daughters, Lara and Rachel.
Seven-year-old Rachel suffers from cerebral palsy, a congenital disorder that causes motor dysfunction in the body.
Before deciding to leave France, Barlagne asked a Canadian Embassy official in Paris if his daughter's condition might cause a problem.
"That was my first question. He told me not to tell anybody about this, just come and that it would be just a simple task to have my permanent residency," he explained.
Two years after relocating, Citizenship and Immigration Canada rejected the family's application for permanent residency, due to his daughter's health.
"Canadian immigration told us that our daughter would be a burden for medical and social services in the country, so we have to go back where we're coming from," Barlagne said.
With the advice of a lawyer, the family is seeking a federal court review of the decision. The hearing is scheduled for Feb. 23. If they win, their file will be reconsidered.
A spokesperson for Immigration Canada said she couldn't speak specifically about Barlagne's case, but added that in these kinds of cases, the department is torn between allowing people to enter the country, and having to respect its mandate to protect the healthcare system.
Barlagne said he never would have uprooted his family if he knew they might have to return to France.
"If they have to move, that would be very painful for them," he said of his daughters. "I think it's really hard to restart a new life somewhere else."