Article excerpted from CTV News website. Originally posted by Sue Bailey, The Canadian Press on November 10th, 2017. Click here to read the full article.
N.L. woman says paperwork gaffe nixed costly bid to reunite family
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A Newfoundland woman says one wrong checked box in a stack of paperwork wiped out thousands of dollars and years of effort to bring her family to Canada from India.
Leena Raju says a five-year application ban for an honest mistake has made her feel like a criminal. Experts say her case is all too common.
“It’s really tragic,” immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah said from Calgary. “The fact that something so minor could affect her ability to be reunited with members of her family, I think it’s heart-breaking and I think it’s unjust.”…
“I’m all by myself,” Raju said as she held a ream of documents at her home in St. John’s, N.L. “I need family with me. I’ve been here for a long time, paying all these taxes and everything. I don’t have any criminal record. I’ve never had one parking ticket.”
Raju arrived in St. John’s in 1990 and became a Canadian citizen five years later. She has worked as a personal care assistant, choosing to remain single and focus on sending money to loved ones back in India.
…”I really hope there will be some pressure put on the government … to at the very least remove the bar so that this woman can reapply with proper legal advice.”
Ackah said her office has repeatedly had to follow up with Immigration when approved documents sent by the department failed to arrive. They’re usually sent by regular mail or email with no consistent tracking system, she said…
Back in St. John’s, Raju dreads having to wait until 2020 for another chance at happiness. “I trust in God, I want my family,” she said. “I’m waiting and hoping.”
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