Dieppe family from Tunisia facing deportation

A Dieppe family from Tunisia could soon be facing deportation after unsuccessfully appealing a denied refugee claim.

Ben Cheikh Brahim family unsuccessfully appealed denied refugee claim, fears persecution

A Dieppe family from Tunisia could soon be facing deportation.

The Ben Cheikh Brahim family has been living in New Brunswick for three years.

But the family has been asked to leave voluntarily by Sept. 5 after losing an appeal of its denied refugee claim.

The family says it has faced persecution in Tunisia after converting to Christianity from Islam many years ago.

But the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada ruled the family is not "persons in need of protection."

The family contends the decision is unfair because similar refugee claims for the same region were granted.

Jack Haller, a Moncton lawyer specializing in refugee law, agrees.

"In all four cases we have Tunisians who have converted from Islam to Christianity. In two of these decisions, these two panel members deem them right away to be persecuted and allow them to stay in Canada," said Haller.

"And in these two [other] decisions rendered by the same person — Anna Brychcy out of Halifax — they were not deemed to be convention refugees and are going to be forced to leave Canada. And that's a shame," he said.

"I've met this family. Moncton and New Brunswick need immigrants. And we should believe that they will be persecuted if they go back to their country for being Christians."

The Immigration and Refugee Board has declined to comment, saying it does not discuss specific claims.

Board officials did say consistency in decision making is an important priority. However, it is important to remember that each unique claim is decided on its merits by an independent decision maker, they said.