A different plan. Final update - Summer 2023
Unfortunately, the federal review was not in Fatmata's favour. The IRCC simply does not agree her situation back home is bad enough, nor our efforts here good enough to allow her to stay. With no legal options remaining, the decision was made to surrender to CBSA and begin plans to return back to Sierra Leone.
CBSA graciously allowed the family to remain until the boys finished the school year. This also allowed Fatmata to receive much needed medical treatment which we give thanks to God for all the people who came together to provide for her care and recovery.
This summer she and her two boys returned to Sierra Leone and were reunited with her daughter. They returned to no home, no prospects of employment and limited opportunities for a future.
God is not done with them, nor us, in this story. We continue to support her as best as we can from afar, and we pray claiming Jeremiah 29:11 for them in this time of need.
Summer 2022 Update - Part 2
Praise God! A step in the right direction has happened! In July "The Federal Court has granted leave to hear the appeal." - this means we (or rather Fatmata's lawyer) will get to present verbal arguments before a judge on why Fatmata's H&C application decision should be struck down and allow us to try again.
We continue to be grateful to all who pray for and support Fatmata and the congregation as we journey with her!
Summer 2022 Update
Immediately after the H&C application was rejected, we filed for a Federal Review. It has been over a year since the appeal was submitted, and Fatmata continues to wait for a response.
Unable to work, Fatmata spends her time improving her English literacy and sewing while the boys are continuing to attend school.
Fatmata and the church continue to be very grateful for those in the community and government who have provided support for her during these past 3 years.
The boys are growing, so donations towards clothing, school supplies - and maybe even a larger bicycle (or 2) would all be greatly appreciated!
Summer 2021 Update
Fatmata and her boys continue to live in the church. We are very grateful for those in the community and government who have provided support for her during these past 2 years.
A strong application for permanent residency under humanitarian and compassionate grounds was submitted earlier this year. Wait times for H&C applications were estimated to be 2+ years. However, without providing a reason, her application was quickly rejected this spring. Along with an unprecedented 70% of applications.
- Canada rejected double the number of humanitarian applications for immigration in 2020
- Canada refused more humanitarian applications for immigration in 2020
- Advocacy Group Hints at Unexplained Immigration Policy Shift
We continue to seek ways to support Fatmata, to help her find a safe place to live and raise her boys.
As of April of 2019, Fatmata and her two boys have requested sanctuary to avoid deportation and are living in our church while we help them find a safe and legal resolution to their immigration issues. Immigration authorities are fully aware the family is living in the church and we are doing all we can to ensure their safety and well being.
Fatmata came to Canada with her husband and 2 boys in 2016. Some time after arriving, her husband left her, returned to Sierra Leone and divorced her. The divorce has left her with limited financial resources, making it very challenging for her to access legal, medical and education resources for her and her boys.
Her divorce has also put her into a vulnerable position back home. She is trying to escape from a culture where the Poro Society has power and control. Because of her family lineage, she believes there is a real danger that her boys will be abducted by and initiated into the Poro Society. The initiation rituals result in permanent scars, and there is the possibility of death for those who resist. Therefore, she has decided to seek safety and refuge for her 2 boys here in Canada.
Immigration Canada does not feel her case is strong enough to warrant either refugee status or for her to be allowed to stay on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. We believe that at this time, it is not safe for her to return to Sierra Leone.
As a church we recognize that we are called to obey the government (Romans 13:1), love foreigners as ourselves (Leviticus 19:34) and protect the orphans and widows (James 1:27). We appreciate that the Canadian Border Services Agency mercifully respects the concept of Sanctuary as we work to negotiate a resolution that will give Fatmata and her boys the best chance to live a life safe from fear of physical and mental harm.