30-year-old womanA 30-year-old woman, who was brought to Toronto when she was a little girl, is facing deportation to France after federal officials learned she was living in Canada without immigration status for 18 years.

Laura Emmanuelle Souchet, a samba dancer who now owns her own cleaning business, said she came to Canada with her mother at the age of 12 to take care of her grandmother, who suffered a severe stroke.

She told CTV News Toronto that in 2002, an immigration consultant told them if they wanted to stay in Canada, they would need to apply as refugees, a notion that even puzzled Souchet as a young girl seeing as France was a safe country.

But the family trusted the consultant to know the Canadian system better than they did, and they handed over their payment, Souchet said. When the application was rejected and a deportation order was issued, the consultant advised them to go under the federal government’s radar and wait for amnesty.

“I was hoping [it would work out], but I realized she was feeding me a dream that wasn’t a reality,” Souchet said on Thursday. “She was charming and convincing as if she had our best interest at heart … I was later told that she’s known for doing this kind of stuff.”

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