Verdun couple facing deportation dealing with impossible dilemma
A Verdun couple who moved to Canada from Egypt eight years ago is facing an unbearable dilemma.
Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board has denied their refugee status claim, but with two children born in Canada, the kids can stay -- but the parents can't.
Eight-year-old Sarah Khalifa and her six-year-old sister Aisha are technically supposed to start school Thursday, but instead, it increasingly looks like they're about to board a plane and head to Egypt.
“It's very hard that you're waiting anxiously, with the kids playing on the sidewalk with the future hanging in a few hours,” said father Tarek Khalifa.
The Khalifa family was in federal court all day Wednesday trying to obtain a stay preventing their deportation back to Egypt.
Their refugee status was rejected.
The family blames poor legal advice for their failure to convince immigration authorities on the legitimacy of their case, and they've now exhausted all other avenues.
The children were born here, and that has forced the parents into an impossible dilemma.
“Take the kids now, throw them in another society with another culture and another standard of living, another health care, totally different,” said Khalifa.
Egypt went through years of instability since the Khalifa arrived in Montreal in 2006, and social activist groups say the country remains dangerous.
Worse yet, the couple's oldest child suffers from epilepsy.
“They give me two choices -- to leave them here, or take them with me. Two choices that are very difficult for me,” said mother Samah Khalifa. “There will be irreparable damage to their psychology and their behaviour. I cannot stand it.”
In Verdun where they live, church groups and community organizations have rallied behind the Khalifa family.
Save for a last-minute change of heart from Ottawa, Sarah and Aisha Khalifa could be leaving Canada to begin a new life as soon as Friday.
“This is so unjust for the family,” said one supporter.