A family in Calgary is attempting to avoid deportation from Canada. The family is from Sri Lanka and two of their children were born in Canada.
Maneth Fernando is the eldest son in the family at 9-years-old. He wrote a letter to Marco Mendicino, the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as a last resort to ask Ottawa to help his family stay in the country.
In an interview with CTV News, Maneth said, “Canada is a safe place with lots of good schools and my friends are here. If I go back, the kids in the Sri Lankan schools will laugh at me because I can only speak English.”
In the letter, Maneth mentioned that he was worried that “something bad will happen” to his family if they are forced to go back to Sri Lanka—his parents birthplace.
His parents are Nishan Fernando and Sulakshana Hewage two of their three children were born in Canada. One is 4-years-old and the other is only 15 months.
It has been arranged by the Canada Border Service Agency that the family be flown to Colombo, Sri Lanka on March 3. This decision has come after years of court proceedings.
Udani Perera, the family’s lawyer, said, “There are two Canadian born kids here and the only options that my clients were given is to put the Canadian-born into foster care and go back to Sri Lanka, which is completely unacceptable.”
The couple fled Sri Lanka and made their way to Canada with their first son in 2012. Fernando told officials that he feared for the safety of his family because his uncle was involved in criminal activity.
He told CTV News, “We were seeking a safe place for my kids and family.”
Federal Court documents showed that Fernando’s uncle was a contract killer, a political fixer and a loan shark. He also had connections to high up politicians.
The uncle that Fernando was referring to has been murdered since the family left Sri Lanka. He was the man who raised Fernando.
Until 2016, Fernando had worker status in Canada. In May of 2016, his permanent residency application was refused. Ottawa said that Sri Lanka did not pose enough of a safety threat to the family who has claimed to have been attacked twice in the past.
In 2018, the claim was rejected again.
Another application was submitted by the family about five months ago. The application is still on a waiting list and cannot stop the family from being sent back while on the list.
The IRCC statement noted, “If applicants have to leave the country, their application for permanent residence will continue to be processed.”
Their lawyer, Perera, thinks the family will not be safe if they return to Sri Lanka.
“There are serious threats to their lives,” she said.