by Zoey Jones
I’ve been thinking about Emilio a lot lately and I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this whole immigration and refugee thing, and to be honest, it’s all very confusing. Trying to figure out whether somebody is eligible to stay in Canada becomes a bit tricky once you start getting into the logistics of everything. So, I’ve decided to try to figure out the circumstances under which someone will be given the right to live in our country.
First of all, it’s important to establish the kind of refugee (if at all) Emilio is. There are three major categories that apply when evaluating someone for refugee status.
Convention Refugee – Generally, this is somebody who has left his or her country for fear of being persecuted because of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group. They are also unable, because of their fear, to seek help or protection in their home country.
Protected Person – This is somebody who has already been given permission to stay in Canada either as a convention refugee or as a person in need of protection. If they are considered a “Protected Person” and not a “Refugee” they may face a removal order, which will require them to return to their home country if the situation improves.
Landed Immigrant – A Landed Immigrant is somebody who has applied to come to Canada from his or her home country and has been accepted, regardless of the situation in his or her home country.
The problem facing Emilio is that he really doesn’t fall into any of these categories, and that’s why he’s having so many problems. He came to this country so he could help his mother and sister who are in danger of death by malnutrition or gang violence. Our government, however, doesn’t see these as worthy enough reasons to allow him to stay in Canada. So, when Emilio went to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB), they decided that he didn’t actually need Canada’s protection. He has since applied to the Federal Court to have them review the decision, and that’s where the situation is at right now.
Some people give him flack and say that he’s only volunteering at the soup kitchen so that he will look better to the Review Board, but if you study the guidelines for refugee status you’ll see that none of that really matters. He could be volunteering at the soup kitchen, the hospital and taking in orphan puppies on the side, but that still wouldn’t make a difference to the Review Board. All they care about is his personal situation back in Guatemala.
I guess all he can do now is wait. If the review board decides that he has a good reason for being here, then he’ll stay. If not, then I guess he’ll have to go back home and try to figure out another way to help his family. I wish that there were something more that I could do for him and his family, but the truth is that there isn’t. All we can do it wait.