A victory for common sense

December 18th, 2019

The story of Redwan and Shuruvi Mozumder stands as a good example of an originally unimpeachable immigration decision that later went off the rails. 

The two teens first came to Canada with their parents in 2013 from Dhaka, Bangladesh, only to be abandoned by their father soon after arrival.

Alone with Redwan and Shuruvi, the mother applied for refugee status only to have her application and a subsequent appeal denied.

That was in 2014 — five years ago.

The government’s reason for denying the mother’s application was undeniably on point — she admitted to giving a fake name on her application for refugee status and submitting false documents to the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB). 

The IRB also ruled that the Mozumders did not qualify as refugees because Redwan and Shuruvi were U.S. citizens and the mother held a Green Card and all three could find safety there. 

These are both legitimate grounds for removal. But no removal order came — and that’s when things got complicated. 

In the absence of the order, the family got on with life in Canada. The kids grew into carefree teens and got used to life in their adopted hometown of Toronto. 

They both got jobs with the City of Toronto and Shuruvi graduated from high school and got accepted to university. 

The teens told the National Post newspaper that they were largely unaware of the precariousness of their situation until 2018, when they were tasked with getting letters of support from friends and teachers to back their mother’s application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

That new sense of uncertainty soon took over and continued into this year, peaking on November 1 after Shuruvi turned 18. That’s when a removal order arrived for the teens that would have seen them deported to the United States — a country they’d known only as toddlers, where they didn’t know a soul.

Fortunately for Redwan and Shuruvi, their local Member of Parliament, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, managed to secure an 11th-hour reprieve and the order was cancelled just hours before their scheduled removal. 

Had a removal order been issued for the family from the start, it might have been hard to dispute. But five years? It allowed the teens to put down roots, to adapt to life in Canada and even come to think of themselves as Canadians in everything but name. Not to mention the teens did absolutely nothing wrong and were effectively guilty by association. 

That officials came to their senses and allowed Redwan and Shuruvi to stay no doubt came as a relief to the teens, but it was also a victory for common sense.

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