Guyanese siblings face deportation from Canada
Two Guyanese students of the University of Toronto at Scarborough are facing deportation from Canada, news reports have stated, but they are hoping that a last ditch legal effort will keep them in Toronto.
Steve and Trisha Sherman received deportation orders three weeks ago to return here, and they are expected to leave the country tomorrow.
They had applied to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for asylum based on violence in Guyana, but their applications were denied.
Their lawyer is taking the case to federal courts on the basis of a misunderstanding by Canadian Immigration.
“If they don’t hear anything or get a negative response, they’ll leave Wednesday,” said family friend Cheryl Brooks. “But if they get a deferral, they’ll stay for as long as the deferral entitles them.”
Trisha is a final-year Political Science student, while her brother Steve is a third-year Environmental Science student.
“At this point, we’re feeling defeated. We’re packing our bags and putting everything in the hands of a Supreme Being,” Steve was quoted in his University’s newsletter as saying.
Brooks says the siblings have worked hard to give back to the community since they landed in Canada, by tutoring and volunteering at hospitals.
The Sherman family arrived in Canada in 2002 on a visitors’ visa. After their immigration request was denied, the parents and younger sister returned to Guyana. As minors, Steve and Trish applied for refugee status. The family was seeking asylum on the basis of violence in Guyana.
“When they were kids, sometimes they’d be followed home, threatened, have stones thrown at them,” said Brooks. “Their family has been targeted….”
The two have been living with their grandparents, who are Canadian citizens.
Last weekend, they were granted a hearing, where they presented a 500-signature petition, newspaper articles about the ongoing persecution, as well as letters from family, friends, employers, and school officials.
Steve and Tricia have spoken with Members of Parliament. They have also sought the involvement of the University of Toronto.
The group “No One is Illegal,” which supports Canadian refugees regardless of legal status, had planned a rally for last Thursday until the two pulled out.
The Shermans had hoped to stay until May 2 to finish the school year. They were paying domestic tuition fees, as they presented a refugee claim.
“I know there are cases in the past where university students have been given more time,” said Steve. “I feel our university isn’t doing enough. It’s been difficult to get in touch with people.”