WATCH (above): An Abbotsford mother is facing deportation, despite concerns that being sent back to Hungary could kill one of her sons. Tanya Beja reports.
They thought Canada was the best country in the world and would protect them. But now, an Abbotsford mother and her two sons, who escaped domestic violence in Hungary, are facing deportation.
Marianna Juhasz and her two sons Patrik and Tamas desperately want to stay in Canada. The trio fled their home in Hungary four years ago to escape domestic violence and have been in hiding ever since. First arriving in Toronto and eventually settling in Vancouver.
Now, they fear they will soon be deported.
Juhasz fears for her 12-year-old son Tamas, who she says was physically beaten by his father and the police did nothing to intervene
“He was kicking him, punching him, putting him under cold showers,” Patrik told Global News.
Patrik says when they arrived in Canada, he and his mother learned more about the physical abuse Tamas suffered at the hands of his father.
Juhasz works three jobs in Abbotsford to fully support her family but last week they learned their application to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds was denied. Now the children fear their mother will be arrested in Hungary for kidnapping and bringing them to Canada.
According to immigration lawyer Peter Edelmann, the changes to the refugee laws in the last few years could be one of the reasons why Juhasz’s request would be denied.
“There are designated countries of origin and Hungary is one of those countries,” Edelmann explained.
“What that means is that there are a number of people who may not meet the criteria of refugees. They look at whether or not you can get protection from police in Hungary and it’s not always clear if that protection is available and whether the police would be willing.”
Edelmann went on to say under the new law there are “much fewer mechanisms available to protect individuals.” And due to these new laws, applicants are no longer able to remain in Canada while they appeal their case.
“The mechanisms for being able to remain here while you apply for humanitarian protection or appeal it are very limited. A lot have been cut off or restricted,” he said.
“They’re in a very difficult situation… They would need to make an application to the federal court and for a family to do it on their own, is challenging.”
When Juhasz told Tamas about the deportation order, he became withdrawn. According to his therapist, Christina Henderson, he has disclosed suicide plans if he’s forced to return to his father.
“He doesn’t sleep, he has trouble eating, he has fainted on occasion, he throws up, he gets severe headaches, he dissociates especially in certain situations where a male figure may yell at him… he gets very frightened,” Henderson says.
Even though the abuse Tamas reported has been collaborated by child protection in Hungary their laws outline that fathers have rights, according to Henderson.
“So Tamas would have to see his dad every second weekend regardless of the abuse being reported,” Henderson explains.
“In this case Marianna, Tamas’ mother, did what any mother in these circumstances would do, which is do whatever it takes to protect her child.”
Juhasz’s friends and coworkers have written letters to their MP, and even contacted the Immigration Minister, pleading for the family to stay. But so far, the order to leave hasn’t changed. In the meantime, friends of the family have started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for an immigration lawyer for the family.
The family has another appointment with border officials later this week, to find out when they must return home.
~ with files from Tanya Beja
WATCH: on Unfiltered with Jill Krop: Immigration lawyer Peter Edelmann on family’s deportation fight