A Toronto senior is facing deportation after more than 20 years in Canada on work permits that were consistently granted by Immigration, Refugees Citizenship Canada.
“I love this country more than any other country – it’s my home, so why?” explained Samuel Nyaga with tears running down his face during an interview with Global News in Toronto’s Little Jamaica.
The 75-year old escaped Kenya in 2000 as a refugee during the height of democracy movements and the push for a multi-party system. He says he left due to fears of political prosecution after an attempt on his life.
“I got advice: ‘you have to run away.'”
“They injured me I have a scar here they wanted to kill me,” added Nyaga pointing to his right thigh.
Nyaga’s lawyer Ariel Hollander says for 17-years the federal government issued work permits for the senior up until 2017 when he lost his job as a security guard at a condominium in Toronto because his work permits expired. Applications and appeals to remain in Canada on humanitarian grounds have been turned down.
“They just don’t know their rights and that was this case. He didn’t know that applying again for a humanitarian and compassionate application was an option, he didn’t know that if a work permit application is denied that he can apply again,” Hollander said.
In a five-page decision obtained by Global News, the Canadian Border Service Agency (CBSA) outlined the reasons for deportation and why the Inland Security Officer wouldn’t grant a deferral of the deportation. The officer states the senior knew of his impending removal since 2010, the officer also felt through risk assessment the man’s life would not be in danger if he returned to Kenya.
“While I acknowledge that it may take some time for him to reintegrate back to Kenyan society, it has to be understood that this is an unfortunate yet inherent result of the removal process and it does not constitute unusual or disproportionate hardship upon him,” wrote the Inland Security Officer.
“I am unable to conclude that removal to Kenya at this time would expose the applicant to risk of death, extreme sanction or inhumane treatment.”
Hollander says he doesn’t understand why Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) continued to issue work permits up until 2017.
“He was out of status for more than ten years. I do not know why suddenly it’s so important, so urgent to deport him?” questioned Hollander.
The CBSA cited privacy reasons as to why they wouldn’t discuss Nyaga’s case. In a more generalized sense, the agency wrote;
“Those being removed have either exhausted or chosen not to pursue further legal recourse and have no legal right to remain in Canada. The removal order remains valid until it is enforced or the foreign national becomes a permanent resident,” wrote Jacqueline Roby, CBSA communications advisor.
“The process to obtain a travel document involves three principal groups: the Government of Canada; the person ordered removed from Canada; and, the foreign government who is being asked to issue the travel document. The process of obtaining travel documents will vary.”
Nyaga says he hopes the IRCC will review the application to stay but that process can take up to two years. So, as it is, Nyaga says he will report to Pearson International Airport on Jan. 4 in hopes of someday returning to the country he calls home.
“Honestly, I belong here,” Nyaga said.