Sami Chez Nous! Stop the Deportation of Sami Sheikh!
Join us in denouncing the imminent deportation of Sami Sheikh, who has lived in the Montreal neighbourhood of Parc Extension for 12 years.
Update (January 28, 2013): Sami Sheikh is accepted in Canada as a permanent resident!
Media: “Un vie en sursis” || “Un Montréalais est menacé d’expulsion vers le Pakistan, où il n’a jamais vécu”
To see posts on Sami, click here.
A message from Sami
My name is Sami Sheikh. I live in Parc-Extension, in Montreal.
I moved to Montreal in December 2000 when I was 12 years old and I have lived here ever since.
I was born in the United Arab Emirates, where my parents were working; they are from Pakistan. They came to Canada to claim refugee status because of my father’s involvement with the PPP, a centre-left political party in Pakistan.
Our refugee claim was immediately accepted in 2001 and we filed for permanent residency.
Unfortunately, my sister got involved with someone who was abusive and became increasingly aggressive towards her; when she turned to my parents for help, he took his revenge by robbing my family and denouncing us to Immigration Canada.
As a result of the information they received from this man, our refugee status was revoked in 2007. Upon the advice of an immigration consultant, my family had omitted certain information when entering the country. My family was completely unfamiliar with the system and how it worked.
In 2009, my parents were deported to the United States (because they had entered by land from the US). However, the court ruled that my sister and I could stay until our case was reviewed by the Federal Court, because we grew up in Canada and have never lived in Pakistan.
The Federal Court agreed that my sister and I would face hardship if we were sent to Pakistan, where we had never lived. My file was then sent back to Immigration Canada so that it could be considered separately from my parents’ file. For her part, my sister got married and moved to Singapore with her husband.
I provided Immigration Canada with my work record, my educational record, and support letters from friends, work, political parties, organizations, volunteer work, and all other information they required. And then I waited for their response.
During all this time, I continued my life. I did my high school in French at the Polyvalente Lucien-Page and my CEGEP in English at Vanier College. I applied to university and was accepted at Concordia University in Computer Science, UQAM in Telecommunications, and Carleton University in Network Technology with an entrance scholarship. Unfortunately because of my immigration status, I have not been able to attend university: I would be charged international fees which I could not afford.
At the same time, I worked: I have worked and paid taxes since I was 17. I am currently working at Harris/Decima, where I very much enjoy my work. My co-workers and I get along very well and I have received two promotions in the last year.
In September, I was called to a meeting with the Canadian Border Services Agency. After he asked me a number of questions about my life and my sister’s life, the officer informed me that my application to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds had been refused and that I had to leave Canada. He asked me to go to the Pakistani consulate and apply for a passport. A deportation date is imminent.
Canada is my home and has been for most of my life, since I was 12 years old. I grew up in Montreal. I work here, my friends are here, and my life is here. My work is willing to sponsor me. I have enough points to meet the criteria for Quebec immigration selection and for Canada.
I am part of this community in other ways as well. In my spare time, aside from work and studying, I train in the martial art of Ving Tsun Kung Fu and I support my friends with their computer issues. I enjoy doing the things everyone enjoys doing with their friends such as dinners, movies and hanging out.
I consider myself a Canadian, a Quebecois, and a Montrealer, I have no attachment to Pakistan. I have never even lived in Pakistan. I do not read or write Urdu; my primary spoken and written languages are English and French. I have no close family there; no one I know at all well. I have studied, worked, paid taxes and given back to the community. I call on the Federal Court, CBSA, and Minister of Public Safety (Vic Toews), Immigration, and minister of Immigration (Jason Kenney) to regularize my situation and allow me to stay in my home country, Canada. I also call on the Quebec government, specifically the Minister of Cultural Communities (Diane de Courcy) to pressure the federal government to allow me to stay in Quebec. My parents now live in the United States, where they applied and were accepted as refugees. I should not be punished for a mistake my parents made, and I call on Federal Court to reverse their decision on legal, humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
My home is here and here is where I should stay.