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Canada backs off plan to deport undocumented Portuguese man who lived there 32 years

By Kay Steiger
Thursday, August 9, 2012 14:47 EDT
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Canada's immigration ministry on Wednesday rescinded a deportation order for a Portuguese man living in the country for 32 years. (AFP Photo/Jamie Squire)
 
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Canada’s immigration ministry on Wednesday rescinded a deportation order for a Portuguese man living in the country for 32 years.

A crackdown on immigration fraud had unwittingly snared Jose Pereira, 58, who said he was ordered out over an administrative gaffe.

Married to a Canadian woman, he had four children and several grandchildren in Canada and has never committed a crime.

Public broadcaster Radio-Canada said that his permanent residency card expired two years ago during a trip abroad and a replacement was not processed because Pereira did not reply to a letter asking for more information.

The letter had been mailed to him in Portugal, where he had been visiting his sick father, but Pereira had already returned to Canada by the time it arrived.

It wasn’t until this year, when he applied for Canadian citizenship, that he learned of the letter and the consequences of not replying: deportation for alleged “immigration fraud.”

Wednesday morning, 12 days before his scheduled flight to Portugal, after he sold off most of his possessions and rented a house in Portugal, an official called to say he could stay, he told Radio-Canada.

“It’s been a nightmare,” he said. “We sold everything… we have nothing left.”

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
 
 
 
 
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