Ms. Reetu Ghotra arrived in Canada in 2001, and her husband, Mr. Shimbi Singh, in 2002. Their two children were born in Canada and speak French fluently. Their eleven-year-old son, Kamal, has a severe language disorder and global developmental delay. He attends La Mennais school in a class for special need children, where he is making constant progress. Attending school in a language other than French would be extremely difficult for him, if not impossible. Pardeep, the other child, is a young girl aged 9. The children don’t have any family other than their parents in Montreal. This means that they could not stay in Canada if their parents are deported, even if the family were prepared to split up.
Mr. Singh and Ms. Ghotra have struggled through the bureaucracy of the immigration and refugee system for many years, only to finally receive a deportation order on less than one month’s notice. They have both held stable jobs for years. They are integrated in their community in Parc-Extension and contribute positively. The family as a whole considers Montreal their home, and the children have never lived in India.
The Ghotra Singh family does not have financial means beyond their current jobs, and their links with their families in India are quasi-inexistent. The family could not count on any help if they are forced to go back to India. “The parents are very frightened that they will not be able to provide for the basic needs of their children if they have to go back to India,” says Marie-Hélène Rivest, a social worker at Parc-Extension CLSC. Their Indian ID papers having long since expired, the family also fears being detained on arrival in India if they are deported this week.
Minister Jason Kenney has the power to intervene to ensure that the Ghotra Singh family can stay united in Canada, a country in which they have been living for more than 10 years.