Judge grants stay of deportation for Quebec 'guardian angel' Mamadou Konate
MONTREAL -- A Montreal janitor who was facing a deportation order to Ivory Coast will get to stay in Quebec a little longer after a human rights lawyer’s efforts to keep him in Canada seem to have worked — at least for now.
Known as one of Quebec’s “guardian angels” for working in long-term care homes at the height of the COVID-19 crisis, Mamadou Konaté fought the deportation order over fears his life would be in danger.
His lawyer, Stewart Istvanffy, confirmed to Noovo Info on Wednesday that a judge granted a stay of deportation. Konaté was preparing for the worst; his bags were already packed and he was ready to leave Friday.
The judge issued a stay of deportation until the end of the proceedings in federal court or an evaluation under section 42.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to lift his inadmissibility in Canada, according to Istvanffy.
The lawyer suspects his client will be allowed to stay in Canada permanently. Konaté was a member of a group that had revolted against the government of Côte d'Ivoire.
"It's like we would be saying Nelson Mandela was inadmissible to Canada,” said Istvanffy.
Konaté has been in Canada for more than six years. The Quebec government promised to fast track asylum for those working on the front lines during the pandemic, but only nurses and orderlies qualified.
His supporters praised the court’s decision on Wednesday.
“A first battle won!” tweeted Andrés Fontecilla, Quebec Solidaire’s immigration critic, on Wednesday.
Alexandre Boulerice, deputy leader of the NDP and MP for Montreal’s Rosemont--La Petite-Patrie Victoire borough, who has also helped advocate on behalf of Konaté, celebrated the good news as well.
“Victory! Hopefully everything will end well, but already thank you to everyone who supported Mamadou!” he said on Twitter.
Last summer, activists held a rally in support of him outside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office in Montreal’s Papineau riding to call for status for Mamadou Konaté and others in his position.
Konaté was still working at a long-term care home in September 2020 when he was detained at the Immigration Holding Centre in Laval.
He was eventually released by a federal court, but had remained under threat of deportation ever since.