Sri Lankan family deported after unsuccessful last-minute appeal
The Canadian Press
Published Sunday, December 3, 2017 8:55AM EST
Last Updated Monday, December 4, 2017 7:50AM EST
A Sri Lankan family in Montreal was deported after appeals to Ottawa for reprieve were unsuccessful.
The Lawrence family-- six people, including a four-month-old child born here -- arrived in Canada five years ago as refugee claimants and have since found either jobs or academic success.
But the family members' refugee claims were not approved and they caught an outbound flight to their home country at Trudeau airport Sunday evening, their baggage carts filled with the possessions they managed to pack in the 24 hours before being deported.
Several federal and provincial politicians as well as Amnesty International have called on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to grant the family a reprieve.
Quebec's immigration minister has also issued them selection certificates that could pave the way to permanent residence if they're allowed to stay.
Advocates for the family say the certificates prove the family is accepted here, and that their deportation is the result off an error that only Goodale can correct.
"[Goodale] cannot accept such an inhumane action, which would be to deport a family of six persons -- with a young child -- when it is known they can face numerous threats to their security," said Quebec Solidaire MNA Amir Khadir, who spoke on the family's behalf.
Their lawyer says the family still fears persecution in their home country due to the work the father did for the United Nations during the Sri Lankan civil war.
The Lawrence family had successfully carved out a new life for themselves in Canada, learning to speak, read, and write in French. Everyone in the family worked or attended school -- one daughter said she hoped to become an oncologist. They even volunteered regularly at church.
With files from CTV Montreal.