December 2, 2017 6:25 pm
Updated: December 2, 2017 7:40 pm

‘This is not what Canada’s known for’: Immigrant family set to be deported pleads for reprieve

The Lawrence family has been living in Montreal for five years but is set to be deported to Sri Lanka on Sunday. As Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports, the family is hoping for a reprieve.

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Time is running out for this immigrant family.

On Sunday, they are set to be deported back to their country of origin and they say they’re scared for their lives.

“We are taking a risk and it’s like the government is making us take that risk,” said Leon Sujith Lawrence.

The Lawrences have been living in Montreal for the last five years.

Robert Rajaratnam Lawrence, his wife and their son work full-time, while their daughters go to school.

Their 21-year-old daughter Leony is an exemplary student.

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She is set to begin her studies at Ahuntsic College in January — she’s hoping to one day become a doctor.

But all of that may soon change.

The family says they have applied for refugee status but their application has been denied.

“The case got rejected because the war is over in Sri Lanka,” said Leon. “The war is over, there is no war, so you can go back. That’s their only argument.”

Global News was not able to see their documents, but the family and their lawyer say the government rejected their application because there is not a credible threat towards the family.

However, they say otherwise.

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Their father, Robert, says he worked for the United Nations in Sri Lanka when he and his family began receiving death threats.

They say, after several scary incidences, they fled to Canada, and if they go back now, they don’t know what will happen.

“I really don’t want to get arrested in the airport,” said Leony. “And these days, everyone knows we’re getting deported.”

Their lawyer, Stéphane Handfield, says the family recently received a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), an immigration document given to them by the province that shows Quebec wants them to stay.

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But Handfield says the decision to suspend or delay the family’s deportation is in the hands of the federal government.

“This is not something I expected from a Canadian government,” said Leon. “This is not what Canada’s known for.”

Global News has reached out to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau — who is also the family’s MP — for comment on the case, but the government says they are not able to speak about individual cases.

However, Global News has learned from senior government sources that the prime minister has had his staff provide considerable support to the family, but they say, at the end of the day, there is a process in place to adjudicate these matters and a decision has been rendered.

A decision the family hopes can still be reversed.

Their flight back to Sri Lanka is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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