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Feds urged to lift immigration block due to disability

NDP MP in Indian family's corner

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VANCOUVER -- A New Democrat MP is demanding the federal government reverse a decision to bar a family from India from emigrating to Canada to join their son in B.C. because their adult daughter has Down syndrome.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 31/03/2012 (3902 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

VANCOUVER — A New Democrat MP is demanding the federal government reverse a decision to bar a family from India from emigrating to Canada to join their son in B.C. because their adult daughter has Down syndrome.

The son, Kevin Patel of Vancouver, wanted to sponsor his parents and sister to come to Canada to become permanent residents.

But Immigration Canada rejected the request because it says his sister’s condition could pose an excessive burden on Canada’s health and social services.

Postmedia PNG IAN SMITH / POSTMEDIA NEWS ARCHIVES NDP MP Don Davies at election victory party last May.

“Are we looking at immigration as a nation-building exercise?” Patel said at a news conference as he questioned the government’s priorities.

“Or are we looking at immigration as a commercial project where we only bring in young people, only smart people, so that they can fund our economy? Should we treat immigrants as a commodity and not as person or as a family?”

NDP citizenship critic Don Davies said the government’s conclusion is not supported by any facts and is instead based on stereotypes of people with Down syndrome.

Davies, who outlined his concerns in a letter to Canadian immigration officials based in India, described the daughter’s condition as “mild Down syndrome.”

“Your officer has come to the disturbing and baseless decision that, while she would not be an undue burden on Canada’s medical system, the mere fact she has Down syndrome means she would be an undue burden on Canada’s social security system,” Davies writes in the letter, issued to the media on Friday.

“This conclusion is not supported by any facts, is contradicted by the evidence submitted in this case and, with all due respect, represents an outdated stereotype of a person with Down syndrome that is not in keeping with modern understanding of people with this condition. Frankly, it represents a bigoted and discriminatory view that is unacceptable in 2012.”

Davies said Patel, whose legal given name is Kaivalya, has been living in North America since 2000. He is currently working as a certified general accountant.

He applied in 2006 to sponsor his mother, father and sister to come to Canada, and that application was granted in 2008, according to Davies. The family submitted an application for permanent residency in 2009, and have since undergone medical exams and submitted financial information.

“The family has complied with all the requests your office has placed on them and they have also affirmed repeatedly that Aditi (the daughter) does not have any special medical, paramedical or respite care needs,” Davies writes.

“Aditi has been extremely self-reliant, physically independent and healthy as an individual.

— The Canadian Press

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