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Undocumented U.S. migrants may have chance of working in Canada, immigration lawyer says – National

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Elidee Sanchez says her nightmares about her harrowing journey crossing the Mexico-U.S. border finally came to an end the day she arrived legally in Canada.

After spending 17 years living in the United States as an undocumented migrant, she was in an almost constant state of anxiety. She had no legal status in a country that has been developing an increasingly hostile view of “illegal” migrants.


READ MORE:
Many undocumented immigrants in Winnipeg afraid to access basic city services that could save their lives

But last August, Sanchez drove across the Blue Water Bridge that connects Port Huron, Mich., with Sarnia, Ont. and was granted legal entry into Canada, thanks to a successful application for a Canadian study visa despite her undocumented status.

“That’s the first time I’ve ever had a stamp in my passport,” she exclaimed to the border security officer as she crossed.

It was a milestone in Sanchez’s life that her immigration lawyer, Vanessa Routley, said would not have happened three years ago.

As an undocumented migrant living for so many years illegally in the United States, her application for a temporary Canadian visa would likely have been denied, Routley said.

WATCH: Word of mouth drawing asylum seekers to Canada






“In the past, if someone had failed to comply with the regulations in another country, Canada was not willing to take a chance on them, to admit them and to ask them to follow our rules,” Routley said.

But over the last few years, the Canadian government might have quietly revised its approach to some of these applications.

“There was a low-level rumour circulating that it’s possible to bring these people in both for study permits and job offers,” Routley said, which is why she moved forward with Sanchez’s application. She said she would not have taken the case in the past, given the low probability of success.

“I knew there was a chance that (Sanchez) could be refused, but there seemed to be a new willingness on the part of Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada to give preferential treatment to people who would otherwise do an irregular (border) entry, but were clearly trying to comply with the regulations and do it through legal pathways.”


READ MORE:
Majority of illegal migrants to Canada in 2018 are Nigerians with U.S. travel visas

Routley had had success with another client, who also was living in the U.S. undocumented. He was able to use his unofficial work history in the U.S. to support his application for a temporary work visa in Canada. She said she has heard of other similar cases from 2017 from other lawyers.

The Immigration Department said there has been no official change in the requirements for temporary Canadian visas and would not comment on individual cases, citing privacy laws.

The department did say each application is considered on the specific facts presented by the applicant. As long as they show the applicant is not criminally inadmissible, is in good health, can financially support him or herself and has all the required paperwork, and he or she agrees to leave the country when the visa expires, the applicant can be granted access to Canada.

In other words, nothing precludes an undocumented migrant from being granted a temporary visa as long as he or she meets all other requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

WATCH: Ipsos poll shows Canadians have concerns about immigration






Routley says she believes Canada may be trying to reward those who are legally trying to enter Canada, given the spike in irregular border-crossers coming to Canada from the U.S. via non-official ports of entry. That has led to a two-year backlog of refugee claims and public and political concerns raised about Canada’s border system.

She wants more undocumented migrants to know this could be an option for them, but understands there could be reasons why the government might not be making any change with a lot of fanfare.

“With the political atmosphere between the Canadian and U.S. government, I don’t think the federal government wants to be perceived as rolling out the welcome mat for people who were essentially illegal workers in the U.S.A.,” she said. “It might also be a bit of a floodgates rationale in that… it could start a stampede.”

In her application, Sanchez was honest about her undocumented status, explaining she had crossed into the U.S. from Mexico at the age of 17, making the dangerous journey across the Rio Grande under a false belief she could eventually normalize her status in the United States.


READ MORE:
Canada is boosting immigration — here’s what the government is hoping to accomplish

But living undocumented in the U.S. was instead a lifelong hardship.

“Just the frustration and the nightmares and the inability to even be able to get a regular driver’s license _ my driver’s license was a different colour and I couldn’t even buy liquor with it because it said in big letters ‘Not valid’ … I spent half of my life not being able to move forward.”

That’s why, when she was granted legal status in Canada this summer to pursue a master’s degree, it was life-altering.

“It was kind of like a dream. It didn’t hit me until woke up in my hotel the next day in Toronto,” she said.

“I haven’t had nightmares since I arrived in Canada, which is pretty amazing.”



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A stunning Water Lantern Festival is coming to Montreal

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What might just be the most magical night ever is coming up for Montreal this year.

The Water Lantern Festival has announced that it will be gracing Mississauga with thousands of floating lanterns later this year, as part of a celebration that spans the entire world.

According to the festival’s official website, the event is a celebration of life with proceeds going towards charities and non-profit organizations within the area.

“Water Lantern Festival brings together individuals from all ages, backgrounds, and walks of life to join in one emotional and memorable night. At the Water Lantern Festival, we cherish these moments and will do our best to help you have a memorable experience that you’ll never forget as you witness the beauty of thousands of lanterns reflecting upon the water,” the website states.

The festival takes place throughout multiple cities around the world, with the Canadian cities of Quebec, Regina, Vancouver, Hamilton, Calgary, Ottawa, Mississauga, and, of course, Montreal taking part.

For the Calgary event, a date has been confirmed and tickets are already rolling out. Montreal shan’t be far behind, and you can click the Notify Me tab on the event’s site to be kept in the loop.

Expect an evening filled with food trucks, music, lantern designing and finally, a magical launch of the lanterns into the water as the sun goes down.

For our pals over in Calgary, their event includes a floating lantern, a commemorative drawstring bag, a marker, and a wristband. Expect something similar, if not the same, when more details float through about Montreal’s event.

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Euthanasia order on hold for Montreal dog that attacked children

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A pit bull dog that attacked four children and two adults in August 2018 in Montreal North will not be euthanized in the immediate future.

The euthanasia order has been temporarily suspended pending the appeal of a Quebec Superior Court decision.

On Tuesday, Judge Lukasz Granosik rejected a request to halt the euthanasia order issued by the Montreal North borough, which declared the animal a “dangerous dog.”

The City of Montreal has not changed its mind. This is only a delay before it proceeds with euthanizing the dog, a source told the Canadian Press.

Shotta, the one-year-old dog, was in the care of its owner’s acquaintance in August 2018. The dog attacked four children and two adults, causing serious injuries in separate incidents on the same day.

After the attacks, the dog was taken from the home and entrusted to the SPCA.

WATCH: Dog found dead in Angrignon Park

The Road to Home Rescue Support, an American shelter, asked the court if it could take in the dog. Christa Frineau, the dog’s owner, had also asked that Shotta not be euthanized.

Granosik refused to grant the request.

—With files from Global’s Kalina Laframboise

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Anglais

9 Things To Do In Montreal This Friday, Saturday & Sunday

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Today’s sunny skies have me itching to make weekend plans. I absolutely cannot wait to make the most of this warmer weather. This might be the time to inflate my bike tires and dust off my running shoes…

Whether you want to brush up on your cooking skills, let loose, or fill your stomach with amazing food, there’s an event out there for you. Read on for 9 fun things you can do with friends or a fling this weekend.

TL;DR Read on for 9 fun things you can do in Montreal this weekend.

Let Yourself Go At Dress Up

Where: 185 Avenue Van Horne, Montréal.

When: Friday, March 29, 9:00 p.m.

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