Overcoming Obstacles to Immigration
Claudia met and married her Canadian husband while they both worked in Mexico. Then, when their daughter, Rebecca, turned four, they moved to Canada to give her better educational opportunities. But immigration laws had changed and Claudia was at risk of deportation—which would tear her family apart.
“To become a permanent resident, my husband had to prove he was financially stable and able to support me,” says Claudia. ”But he couldn’t find work and I faced the strong possibility that I’d be forced back to Mexico.”
Her daughter was four when immigration people said it was time for Claudia to fix her situation. But it wasn’t that simple. They lived on social assistance and immigration lawyers said she had a weak case. Then, when she found a lawyer prepared to move forward with the application, they wanted $5,000 for their assistance and guidance.
“I wasn’t in the position to pay the fee,” says Claudia. “We had just enough money to pay our bills. I was heartbroken. Then the law office told me about The Salvation Army’s free service that helps reunite families. I was so relieved.”
The Salvation Army Atlantic Refugee & Immigrant Services (ARIS) is the only program of its kind in the Maritimes that helps refugees and immigrants reunite with their families.
“Our focus is family reunification,” says Marie Kettle, Program Coordinator. “And for Claudia that meant permanent residency in Canada. She would suffer extensive hardship if she had to leave her family.”
Based on humanitarian and compassionate consideration The Salvation Army worked with Claudia step by step, form by form, to complete the required documents for both permanent residency and a work permit.
“In 2015 I got my work permit and am employed as a room attendant at a local hotel,” says Claudia. “ It’s a good job. On August 7, I became a permanent resident of Canada.
“I’m so grateful to The Salvation Army. Without their help I don’t know where I would be right now.”