McKenna and Vangie deportation stopped
McKenna and Vangie deportation stopped
By Michelle Chermaine Ramos
The Philippine Reporter
For weeks, Migrante Alberta and supporters swiftly closed ranks behind undocumented worker Evangeline “Vangie” Cayanan and her Canadian-born daughter McKenna in their plea to stay in Canada.
Supporters rejoiced when on July 3, 2022, the Migrante Alberta Facebook page announced that they “had a very successful campaign” followed by a press release on July 6, 2022, reporting that their deportation which was scheduled for July 11, 2022, had been deferred for at least a year according to their lawyer Manraj Sidhu.
Cayanan entered Canada legally as a temporary foreign worker in 2010 but was terminated when she reported her abusive employer who was alledgedly a racist and sexually harassed the female staff. She gave birth to McKenna in 2015 and lost her immigration status that same year.
Last year, McKenna was diagnosed with ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Her condition was under management with the specialized support of her social worker, school, and the free healthcare in Canada that McKenna would not have access to in the Philippines if she were to be deported with her mother.
Since June 6, 2022, Migrante Alberta and the Filipino-Canadian community across Canada launched an online petition and over 3,800 signed letters addressed to current and former Immigration Ministers Sean Fraser and Marco Mendicino and several Members of Parliament. The campaign caught the attention and support of Edmonton Griesbach MP, Blake Desjarlais, who spoke up for them in Parliament on June 10, 2022. MP Randy Boissonnault and his office also worked with IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) on their case.
In a final push for this campaign before their scheduled deportation, Migrante Alberta held a press conference on June 12, 2022, with Vangie and McKenna, their lawyer Manraj Sidhu, their social worker Susan Otto and McKenna’s teacher, Christina Boivert, and other supporters in attendance. Filipino and mainstream Canadian media covered the press conference further spreading the news about their plight.
This press conference also led to another victory after a Mexican family attended to seek support. Like Vangie and McKenna, Luis Ubando Nolasco, Cinthiya Carrasco Campos and their eight and nine-year-old daughters were scheduled to be deported this week. Migrante extended its campaign to include them and as a result, their deportation was also deferred. “We will continue to be loud and fight for the rights of undocumented migrants. No one must be left behind” says Nova Porquia, the Vice Chairperson of Migrante Alberta.
Cayanan expressed her thanks to the community on the Migrante Alberta Facebook page saying, “I want to thank everyone that supported me and McKenna. It was a very stressful couple of months but I am very grateful to the community, and the people and organizations that sent letters. Thank you. Most importantly we need to continue to fight for fundamental changes so no one will end up in a situation like me. Undocumented migrants are people, we are not rags that will be disposed after being used. We cannot win this without organizations like Migrante, and other grassroots organizations nationally that never gave up. I believe we can create changes if we struggle together. Thank you, thank you. Salamat.”
To prevent the abuse of vulnerable migrants, organizations in the Migrants Rights Network are calling for an immediate regularization programme including “immediate moratorium on detentions and deportations, inclusive criteria and simple application process, effective communication of the programme, open work permit on application, an ongoing programme for people who lose status after the mass regularization and addressing the reasons why people lose their status”.
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