Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 23/12/2010 (3245 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
THEY'LL end up celebrating Christmas in Canada, but the question of whether three Filipino men will be allowed to stay in the country may not be answered until 2011.
An Immigration and Refugee Board hearing for the "three amigos" — Ermie Zotomayor, Antonio Laroya and Arnisito Gaviola — was postponed Thursday while their lawyer said he was reviewing information about the case.
The men said they'll spend another holiday away from their families in the Philippines while they wait to find out their fate.
"I was worried about my kids because I lost my job, I lost my financial support for them," said Gaviola, who spoke to a small group of supporters at a Broadway church after the hearing was delayed Thursday. He said the men have suffered for a "long time."
The men, who came to Canada in 2007, were arrested in Thompson last June.
They face deportation after they violated terms of work permits that they believed their employer was going to handle.
The men's campaign to stay in Manitoba received a boost this week after they learned their Legal Aid application had been approved and prominent human rights lawyer David Matas would represent them.
Matas wants to get the men to apply for a restoration of status and temporary residence permits that would allow them to remain in the country.
Among the crowd at the church Thursday was the NDP MLA for the Wellington riding and provincial cabinet minister Flor Marcelino, who said she's been helping behind the scenes to support the men.
"They didn't plan to violate immigration rules," said Marcelino, who also hails from the Philippines. Local churches are backing the men in their fight to stay in Canada.
On Friday, provincial Liberal Leader Jon Gerrard also said he supports the men's bid to stay in Canada.
"Antonio, Arnisito and Ermie exemplify the quality work ethic that is continuously on display by Manitoba's new Canadian communities," Gerrard said in a press release.
"I have made a personal appeal to Immigration Minister (Jason) Kenney to allow them to stay and work in our wonderful province."
Petitions bearing 1,300 signatures ask Kenney to let the three men stay in Canada based on compassionate grounds.
A spokeswoman for Citizenship and Immigration Canada said in an email Thursday it would be inappropriate for Kenney to comment because "these cases are presently under the jurisdiction of the Canada Border Services Agency."