Nightmare ends for mom, son going through deportation after 19 years in Canada

Nightmare ends for mom, son going through deportation after 19 years in Canada

After 19 years in Canada, Nike Okafor was almost ripped from her Canadian husband and household after a shock deportation order threatened to upend her life completely.

Now her nightmare is over. 

Six months after CBC Toronto first reported on the story of the non-public help employee going through a sudden and compelled return to Nigeria — the nation she fled almost twenty years in the past — Okafor says she will be able to lastly breathe after being granted everlasting resident standing this week. 

“I thank God for the place I’m right now,” she mentioned. “That is the place I have been longing to be.”

Her Nigerian-born son, Sydney, 21, who additionally confronted deportation, can now envision a life not teetering on the sting of collapse. 

“I am simply so completely happy my mom and I can keep in Canada with no worries after ready so lengthy,” he advised CBC Toronto. “It has been a protracted wrestle.”

Together with his everlasting resident standing, Sydney says he can qualify for scholar loans, afford to proceed education and eventually do easy issues like journey together with his associates with out worry it would influence his standing. 

As their deportation date approached, Okafor’s Nigerian-born son Sydney, now 21, tried to make sense of what it might imply to depart behind the one nation he is known as dwelling. Now he is respiration a sigh of aid. (Paul Borkwood/CBC)

Okafor, 39, has needed to struggle for her survival earlier than. She arrived in Canada as an asylum seeker alone in 2003 along with her son in tow and pregnant with one other baby. 

Being Muslim, she’d had a son with a Christian man and feared if she stayed, he could be taken from her — or worse. 

Within the years that adopted, Okafor put herself by faculty, discovered employment as a private help employee, had two Canadian-born youngsters, met the person she would marry and constructed a future she by no means thought attainable. 

‘Do not cut up us,’ Canadian husband pleaded

It was a future that just about got here crashing down. After her refugee declare was denied, Okafor appealed and was advised to remain in shut contact with the Canadian Border Companies Company.

She did, and within the meantime, life went on.

Then, this previous April, Okafor and her son, who have been now in Canada with out standing, acquired a sudden deportation order from the CBSA. That is regardless of her husband submitting a spousal sponsorship software to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada greater than two years in the past.

Had the deportation gone forward, her two Canadian-born youngsters would have needed to say goodbye to their mom and her husband would have been separated from his spouse of 5 years.

“My complete life is right here,” Okafor advised CBC Toronto in an emotional interview in July. 

WATCH | ‘My complete life is right here,’ mentioned mom going through deportation after 19 years in Canada: 

‘Please let me keep right here,’ says mom going through deportation after 19 years in Canada

After almost twenty years in Canada, Nike Okafor is going through deportation to Nigeria regardless of having a Canadian husband and two Canadian youngsters, amid delays in processing her spousal sponsorship software. The mom of three speaks to CBC Toronto about her want to keep within the nation.

“We’re a household,” her husband, Rotimi Odunaiya mentioned. “Do not cut up us,” he urged the federal government. 

Although spousal sponsorship wait instances at the moment are 10 to 12 months, Okafor and her household had been ready 28 months after they determined to talk out, saying they might have lengthy been everlasting residents if not for the delays. 

Advocates advised CBC Toronto it was confounding that somebody could possibly be slapped with a deportation order whereas such an software was underneath evaluate. 

The CBSA mentioned on the time that having a Canadian-born baby doesn’t forestall somebody from being deported, however the company “at all times considers one of the best curiosity of the kid earlier than eradicating somebody.”

‘Individuals get sick on this course of, lose hope’

Inside hours of CBC Toronto’s reporting, the household’s lawyer acquired a letter from the CBSA granting their request to defer the deportation, whereas he continued their struggle to remain.

Then, this previous Monday got here the information they’d been praying for: a letter from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada stating their functions for everlasting resident standing had been accepted. 

“My hope was revived,” Okafor mentioned, recalling the darkness she felt when she thought she must depart the nation she calls dwelling. 

Vakkas Bilsin, Okafor’s lawyer, advised CBC Toronto his shopper solely heard from the IRCC about her sponsorship software after her story made the information.

“They’d not taken our requests for expedited course of significantly by the point you coated Nike’s story.”

As for Okafor, if there’s one factor she would ask the federal government for now, it is compassion for these whose immigration functions are ongoing.

“Individuals get sick on this course of, lose hope,” she mentioned. “They need to be given an opportunity to verify the method is completed.”

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