NEWS

Haitian-Montrealers want more time before deportation moratorium lifted

05/05/2015 11:54 EDT | Updated 05/05/2016 05:59 EDT
Members of Montreal's Haitian community are asking the federal government for more time to apply for permanent resident status.

Ottawa lifted the moratorium on deportations to Haiti and Zimbabwe in December. The moratorium in Haiti was originally put in place because of political violence and conditions in Haiti following the devastating earthquake in 2010.

Now, many Haitians fear they could soon face deportation.

Johny St. Paul, who came to Canada a decade before the earthquake hit, was originally denied refugee status but decided to stay in Quebec when the federal government introduced the moratorium.

He's trying to apply for permanent residency on humanitarian grounds.

"You know we want to live here," he told CBC's Daybreak on Tuesday.

St. Paul is trying to fill out the paperwork himself, but time is running out before the June 1 deadline.

Marjorie Villefranche, director of Montreal's Maison d'Haiti, said the six-month window Ottawa provided isn't long enough. 

"So that's why we are asking them, asking the government to give us three more months," she said.

Federal Immigration Minister Chris Alexander says the country has been generous to Haitians and Zimbabweans for more than a decade.

Alexander says the temporary ban on deportations has been lifted because he believes the uncertainty in those countries has ended.

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