*Note names and other identifying details have been changed to protect my client’s privacy
Mandeep first came to my office two years ago. What he told was surprisingly and saddening. Satvinder, his father, came to Canada in the early 90’s sponsored by his sibling as a single sibling (an option under the former Immigration Act) - this was to be the initial lie. In reality he was already married and he and his wife Pammy already had Mandeep (Mandeep was just a toddler when his father came to Canada). Satvinder turned around and sponsored Pammy, showing their marriage took place after his landing in Canada (the second lie). Pammy arrived in Canada quickly, about a year later, leaving Mandeep behind with family.
The problem of course was then Mandeep (who was obviously older than the changed date of the marriage) and how to bring him to Canada. Lies have a tendency to multiply. One lie needs other lies, and inevitably one lie leads to another and yet another. Mandeep was "adopted" by his own parents by way of a Deed of Adoption and sponsored to Canada. This fraudulent adoption was refused; there was an interview in Delhi with Mandeep and his "natural mother" (a helpful neighbour, friend?). The adoption was refused yet Mandeep’s parents persisted and appealed to the IAD, testifying, inevitably lying under oath. The IAD dismissed the appeal.
In the meantime, Mandeep’s sibling, Happy, was born in Canada.
The IAD found significant inconsistencies and contradictions – of course it would! That was to be expected given the entire adoption was a fabrication. Persistent, Satvinder sought judicial review and in support of his application for judicial review, signed an Affidavit which also, necessarily, contained untruths and fabrications. The level of misrepresentation committed by Satvinder and Pammy was serious, consisting of lying regarding marital status to immigration authorities, lying on a subsequent sponsorship application, engineering an "adoption" of their own biological child, lying on that sponsorship, and then lying under oath at the IAD and committing perjury on an Affidavit filed at the Federal Court. In the dark the Federal Court decided in Satvinder's favour and the file was sent back to CHC Delhi for redetermination. However, the application was waylaid by a poison pen letter (common in the Punjabi community) resulting in a field investigation by CIC officers in India. That field investigation led them to the conclusion that Mandeep was in fact Satvinder and Pammy's son, that they were married before Satvinder came to Canada and that both Satvinder and Pammy had committed serious misrepresentation.
Remarkably, the couple were not deported. I believe that a decision was made not to pursue enforcement action; I would assume that the decision not to do so was based on Satvinder and Pammy's establishment in Canada and their young Canadian born child.
Another application was made to bring Mandeep to Canada. The family came clean and Mandeep applied for permanent residency but Mandeep was refused yet again.
Sadly, Satvinder never saw his only son in Canada; never saw his family reunited in one country. Mandeep only ended up coming to Canada a couple of years ago, under a "Minister's Permit" or TRP (s.24 of the IRPA) to attend Satvinder’s funeral. Mandeep went back demonstrating respect on his part at least for the integrity of our immigration system.
He entered again more recently on a visitor’s visa to attend his grandfather's funeral. While here, he finally got the chance to live with his mother and sister; saw the difficulty they were going through with the loss of Satvinder.
He wished, very much, to be with his mother and sister and end the separation that this family has endured, obviously because of the choices made by others, and live together and support his mother and sister in their time of grief and loss.
Left behind, Mandeep only lived the first couple of years of his life with his mother, who then joined her husband in Canada. Pammy returned to see him for the first time after departing about 4 years later. His siibling, had the good fortune to be born in Canada. She herself would not have had that status of course since her father's immigration was based on a misrepresentation. Nevertheless, this family, which has suffered the passing of Satvinder, is now divided. One child has status in Canada, her elder brother, through no fault of his own, does not. Since Mandeep has come to Canada, the pressure on Pammy's shoulders has lifted. Personally, Happy feels overwhelmed with joy knowing that even though she doesn't have her dad any more, she has an older brother that is here for her.
After review, we filed an application for humanitarian and compassionate relief. The compelling or unique aspect involved in this case is the fact that the sins of the parents are being visited upon an innocent. Mandeep was a small child when his parents and other family members – undoubtedly relying on very dubious advice - made decisions that were to reverberate for years to come. He bears the brunt of the decisions made by others, particularly his now deceased father.
The only way to rectify the fact that an innocent has been held responsible for the actions of others was to apply for Humanitarian relief.
The discretion allowed to an officer under s.25 is broad.
Chirwa decided in 1970, formulated an almost Shakespearean "test", that is, to grant relief there must be
“those facts, established by the evidence, which would excite in a reasonable man [sic] in a civilized community a desire to relieve the misfortunes of another..."
The Supreme Court, in a recent decision, has given us additional guidance on the H&C process.
I believed that the unique and compelling life history of Mandeep called for sympathy, empathy, understanding and compassion.
I thought that if relief was granted, then this blameless young man can finally live with his mother and sister. He has been bereft of their presence, love and support and they, his. With him here, this family unit can meet the challenges caused by past separation, and the loss of their father.
I’m happy to say that we received approval in principle for Mandeep yesterday morning. My thanks to the responsible Officer who saw fit to extend mercy, compassion to this deserving young man.