immigrant rights

57 petitions

Update posted 1 week ago

Petition to Ahmed Hussen, Serge Cormier, Jenny Kwan, IRC MInister

Grant Syrian Refugee and Ottawa Resident Dima Siam Permanent Residency in Canada

Dima Siam (far right, in white hijab, holding her baby, Maria), is a Syrian refugee welcoming her brother-in-law and his family as sponsored refugees to Canada on April 12, 2017. Siam is fighting a deportation order that would send her to Syria, the result of a simple paperwork error. The Trudeau government has thusfar refused to end her nightmare of limbo and grant her permanent resident status. We are seeking the same status for Dima Siam as was granted to 35,000 other Syrian refugees welcomed to Canada: permanent residency. To: Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; Serge Cormier, Parliamentary Secretary to Mr. Hussen; Jenny Kwan, NDP Critic for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship  We are asking you to grant immediate Permanent Resident status to Dima Siam, a stateless Syrian Palestinian who lives in Ottawa with her husband and four children, all of whom are Canadian citizens. Since January 29, 2015, Dima Siam, a teacher with university degrees in education and biology, has lived under the threat of deportation from Canada to Syria, the very war zone from which Canada has recently received 25,000 refugees. Amnesty International writes: “As a Syrian woman Dima Siam faces a wide range of serious human rights abuses in Syria,” adding, “anyone fleeing Syria should be considered in need of international protection.” You can provide Dima Siam with that protection by exercising your discretion under Section 25.1 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and granting her the same Permanent Resident status enjoyed by over 25,000 Syrians recently welcomed to Canada. You have shown compassion and common sense in resolving cases like Dima Siam’s that were left over from the previous government, and we trust you will do so once more upon considering the facts of this case. Needless to say, the threat of deportation to Syria, where Dima Siam would be at risk from all sides of the conflict, is psychological torture. It has resulted in depression, family stress – especially for the young children, who fear they too will be deported and who won’t stay in a room unless one of their parents is constantly with them – emergency room visits via ambulance, and a range of other afflictions due to a life of constant fear and uncertainty. While a letter outlining the chronology of this case has been sent to your office, we wish to point out to you that Dima Siam finds herself in limbo because of a simple paperwork error, an honest misinterpretation of one checkbox on her sponsorship form, which was filled out by her husband, Mohammad. When Dima and Mohammad were called in to see an Immigration officer more than 20 MONTHS after it was submitted, they were informed their application could only proceed if they repaid a modest amount of social assistance that the family had received when the application was submitted.  Despite meeting the Immigration Officer’s requirement of paying back the social assistance, on January 29, 2015, Dima Siam’s sponsorship application was rejected, and she then received a letter with this ominous demand: “You are currently in Canada without status and you must leave immediately.” Needless to say, they were devastated. How could Canada send anyone back to Syria based on a checkbox error? What’s worse, in February, 2015, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) called Dima Siam in to fill out a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA), which the family took great pains to produce and submit. After waiting almost an additional stressful year for a decision (one in which the stress resulted in emergency room hospital visits), they were told the CBSA would NOT review the PRRA application because it was issued to the family in error. When the government makes a mistake that results in an additional year of excruciating limbo and thousands in expenses, the only ones who pay the price are Dima Siam and her family. Canadian courts and tribunals have long recognized that there will be instances where the strict, inflexible application of the rules in an individual case would be unjust and harsh, and the case of Dima Siam is certainly one of them (see, for example, Hajariwala v M.E.I., [1988] F.C.J. No. 1021, where the Federal Court of Canada recognized “The purpose of the [immigration] statute is to permit immigration, not prevent it.” See also Baker v. MCI [1999] S.C.J. No. 39, at para. 53-74, where the Supreme Court of Canada declared: “immigration officers are expected to make the decision that a reasonable person would make, with special consideration of humanitarian values such as keeping connections between family members and avoiding hardship by sending people to places where they no longer have connections.”)             While we are pleased to welcome 35,000 Syrian refuges to this country, we believe that Canada must also immediately end the limbo faced by Dima Siam and hundreds of other Syrian refugees facing deportation FROM Canada back TO Syria. They should be granted permanent resident status leading to citizenship so they can properly access health care, educational opportunities, and employment.             A positive first step will be the immediate resolution of the Dima Siam case, allowing her and her family to lift the weight of fear and terror that hangs over their heads with Canada’s threat to deport her to Syria based on an honest paperwork error.             We look forward to reading you have granted Dima Siam permanent residency and that your government will consider a similar solution for hundreds of other Syrians facing similar challenges.

Matthew Behrens
27,140 supporters
Update posted 2 weeks ago

Petition to Justin Trudeau, Marco E. L. Mendicino

Compassion and Action for Yemen Crisis Refugees - YemenCrisis​.​com

Although the media hasn’t given the conflict in Yemen its fair share of coverage, the conflict is not any less violent than the war in Iraq or Syria. The UN has declared the state of humanitarian emergency in Yemen. Around 80% of the population is in dire need of assistance: food, medical supply, fuel, and access to safe zones. Other conflicts in regions of interest to super powers have taken the spotlight and attracted world sympathy and foreign aid. Civilians are caught in a war between an armed rebel group influenced by Iran and an ousted government supported militarily by Saudi Arabia. Amnesty International has documented human rights violations by both fighting parties against civilians. Those violations include random bombardment of residential areas, kidnapping, and sieges around highly dense cities. ​On behalf of Yemeni Canadian citizens in Canada, we ask that the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco E. L. Mendicino extend the Group of Five (“G5”) exemptions granted to Iraqi and Syrian refugees to Yemeni refugees. The G5 program allows five (or more) Canadian citizens and permanent residents to sponsor a refugee living abroad to come to Canada, as long as the refugee is registered with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) or foreign state. However, on October 19, 2012 the Government of Canada has temporarily exempted Syrians and Iraqis fleeing the current conflict from the requirement of refugee status with the UNHCR.  The stance of our Canadian government towards refugees from Syria and Iraq is a world example of compassion and humanity. Canadians of Yemeni and Middle Eastern roots are seeking your help to grant them the same support and the ability the sponsor their families and loved ones via the G5 program along with the exemptions mentioned above. Stand with us and ask our government to do what is right and address the Yemen Crisis with compassion and humanity. For more information:  YemeniCanadian.Club

Adil Ahmed Awdah Al-Serri
291,780 supporters
Update posted 2 months ago

Petition to Bill Blair, Public Safety Minister, Justin Trudeau

Help Stop My Husband's Deportation to Torture

Friends, I agree when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says: "No one ever deserves to be tortured." So why is the Trudeau government trying to deport my husband, Mohamed (Moe) Harkat, to torture in Algeria? I have been married almost 20 years to this gentle, funny, hard-working man, someone who has never been accused – much less convicted of – committing a crime or act of violence. But in the Canadian racial and religious profiling sweeps that happened after 9/11, Moe was wrongfully targeted under a secretive, draconian process called a Security Certificate, which allowed hearings to take place in secret without him or his legal team allowed to be present. Moe was never charged with anything. Yet he spent over a year in solitary confinement, and after three more years in jail without charge, was transferred to the strictest house arrest in Canadian history. Although most of those terrible conditions are now gone, the Canadian government refuses to admit that what it has done – and continues to do – is wrong. An Illegal Deportation It is illegal under Canadian and international law to deport someone to torture under ANY circumstances. A decision to end Moe's deportation to torture proceedings would be wholly consistent with: England's Special Immigration Appeals Commission, which settled this issue in 2016 when it ordered Theresa May to stop deporting Algerian nationals at risk of torture; the Irish Supreme Court,  which in 2017 and, again, in July, 2018, blocked a deportation to Algeria because of the real risk of torture; and the German Parliament’s upper chamber,  which in 2017 refused to designate Algeria a “safe country of origin”. Holding this threat over Moe is a form of psychological torture as well. He calls it "this dark cloud hanging over our heads." I see the results of that psychological torture in my beloved husband's eyes every morning, noon, and night. He is terrified of what will happen to him if he is deported: he has nightmares, he is depressed, he suffers from PTSD. The stress on both of us is unimaginable. Our health has suffered greatly. We cannot plan for our future knowing that any minute border agents will show up at our door and take Moe away.  As for the so-called case against my husband? It is based completely on alleged guilt by association stretched so thin as to be almost invisible. All the original "evidence" has been destroyed by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS). It also appears that information gleaned from torture is being illegally relied upon as well. But with a security certificate, anything can be used as “evidence” even if it is not normally admissible in a court of law. In other words, it is NOT a court of law. A Baseless Case The court relied on a CSIS informant who was having an affair with his CSIS agent handler, as well as an informant who failed a lie detector test. The judge hearing the secret case refused to allow either of these informants to be cross-examined, even in secret hearings that Moe and his lawyers could not attend. (In three other security certificate cases, the information provided by spy agency CSIS was shown to be unreliable and dishonest, and those individuals were finally allowed to go free after years of fighting the process. That same dishonesty would have been revealed had the informants in my husband's case been cross-examined). I hope you will join me, Amnesty International, the International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, and thousands of people and organizations across this country who are demanding that the federal government put an end to this nightmare for our family.  Stop Mohamed Harkat's deportation to torture, and allow him to become a permanent resident of Canada so he can finally, after 23 years of waiting, get on with his life. We have had enough of the fear, the uncertainty, as well as the harassment from Canadian Border Service Agency officers who continue to try and humiliate and frighten Moe and me at every opportunity. In addition to signing this petition, you can also visit this link and a letter will be sent to the Prime Minister on your behalf. Moe and I would like to thank the thousands of people across this country who believe in due process and who have spoken up, written letters, held vigils, and donated to our legal expenses. We trust that you will be able to help push the federal government to obey the law and end this nightmare. Moe and I just want to move on with our lives and live a normal existence like everyone else. We appreciate you helping us with this goal. It's not too much to ask. Thank you for your support. It means the world to Moe and me. Sophie Harkat, Ottawa, ON   PS: Hear the words of Amnesty International and other supporters calling for an end to this deportation with this video:  

Matthew Behrens
68,637 supporters