American mother of 5, lost temporary resident status and fears being deported

Heidi Rogerro, an American citizen and mother to 5 underage children with a Canadian citizen has lost her temporary resident status and now fears she will be deported from Canada for having lost her legal right to remain in Canada.

In a heartbreaking story that clearly illustrates how real people are falling through the cracks in the immigration system in Canada, Ms. Rogerro claims that she is living a life of poverty with her five children and totally dependent on the kindness of strangers because her ex-husband was unable to sign papers that would have given her legal permanent status as a result of their marriage.

Her husband has also been negligent in his child support payments and is in arrears of almost 33,000 dollars, money that would have otherwise made a difference for her children.

Custody arrangements have made her case more complicated since her husband has joint custody of the children. She has been issued a court order that prevents her from bringing her children to the US without being charged with kidnapping.

Having been divorced from her husband in 2009 she has lost her status to remain and work in Canada which has added to her troubles. In a study conducted by the YWCA Metro Vancouver they found out that foreign born women who are faced with the same problems have been forced to prostitution just to make ends meet and cope with the financial burden or raising a family without the support of a father and the lack of legal status to work in Canada.

While her immigration case may be applied for and considered under Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds or the “best interests” of her 5 Canadian born children she is reluctant to apply because she fears the long wait (about 2 years) and the negative decision that might be issued which stands at about one in third of all applications.

In my opinion, special consideration should be given to these women because they clearly are in a legal limbo that warrants a humanitarian and compassionate approach not only for them but for their Canadian born offspring. Perhaps the Minister can create a special window or unit that would process such claims which in my view is not too significant in numbers to mess up the system but too significant to ignore considering we are dealing with children exposed to poverty and undue hardship.

Tony Santiago
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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