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The Heidi Roggero Story

Once again I write on another topic in the news. This story however has the pungent odour of bureaucracy. Heidi, a United States citizen, is the estranged wife of Canadian Citizen. She has joint custody of her five (dual citizenship, Canadian, American) children. They currently reside in British Columbia. The sadness of this particular story is that hubby is behind on his child support payments, which in and of itself is not news, but Heidi has no legal status in Canada and can’t work legally in Canada! Where the story gets even sadder is the fact that a Canadian Judge has issued a restraining order forbidding her from taking the children to the United States since she shares custody with the father of the children.

While Heidi and her husband were married in 2000 her husband refused repeatedly to sign sponsorship papers that would have allowed Heidi to obtain permanent resident status in Canada. They separated in 2009. Heidi’s temporary visa expired in 2010. Now the same individual who refused to sponsor his wife is once again using the courts to cause further hardship not only to his estranged wife but also to his own children! As I was reading about this case I have learned that this situation is not unique to Heidi. There are many others out there in a similar situation. Heidi’s ex is in arrears over $33,000 in support payments. Recently his wages were garnisheed and Heidi is now seeing a little bit of the $3290.00 per month that she was awarded.

I don’t want to dwell on the family law issue here but I sure do want to take on some immigration law.

  1. The IRPA S. 3(2)(f) ,with respect to refugees states as  one of its objectives:

    “to support the self-sufficiency and the social and economic well-being of refugees by facilitating reunification with their family members in Canada;”

    The problem with using this argument is that the United States is a democratic nation with similar values to our own and under Bill C31 She would be inadmissible.

  2. IRPA S.25.1(1) states:

    “The Minister may, on the Minister’s own initiative, examine the circumstancesconcerning a foreign national who is inadmissible or who does not meet the requirements of this Act and may grant the foreign national permanent resident status or an exemption from any applicable criteria or obligations of this Act if the Minister is of the opinion that it is justified by humanitarian and compassionate considerations relating to the foreign national, taking into account the best interests of a child directly affected.”

This part of the act clearly indicates that the minister may, if in his opinion it would be in the best interests of the children, grant permanent residence to Heidi.

The children love their mother. She is struggling to provide them with the necessities of life.

Every year we as a country ensure that only the best of health, dental and vision care is provided to refugees and their families. Educational support is freely extended to them as is affordable or no cost housing and groceries.

It’s time to step up to the plate Mr. Kenney… let’s not deprive these Canadian children of their mother…

Robert Robertson
Immigration Program Student at Ashton College
under the tutelage of Jose Godoy Toku

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