An elderly American woman who crossed the border into the United States with her Canadian friend on Wednesday after an exhausting immigration battle will be allowed back in the country, CBC News has learned.
Immigration lawyer Lee Cohen confirmed Nancy Inferrera, 73, will be allowed back into Canada on a three-year "'temporary residence permit."
Mildred Sanford, 83, who grew up in Guysborough County in Nova Scotia, and her American friend of 30 years, Inferrera, said they refused to be separated from one another.
"[Mr. Cohen] is going to pick us up tomorrow and we're going back," said Inferrera.
"I almost dropped the phone, I was so glad and then I told Mildred and Mildred came over and she was jumping up and down and then she told Mr. Cohen. 'I'm going to give you the biggest hug you ever got.'"
Inferrera has been living in Guysborough County with Sanford, who has heart problems and is in the early stages of dementia. Inferrera said she provides care for Sanford but her application for permanent residency has been refused, as has her appeal on humanitarian grounds.
"I can't put into words how grateful I was to the CBC and everybody who called us that we can get back home," said Inferrera.
"I'm the happiest I've ever been in so many days, really."
Sanford and Inferrera met while working in Massachusetts and they moved in together after Sanford's husband died. In 2008, they moved to a trailer in Guysborough, N.S.
The two shared the trailer home, where they lived on pension income of $1,700 per month.
Their situation looked bleak on Wednesday as they crossed the border. Their lawyer called for an intervention from Ottawa.
"I can't put into words how horrible it felt to be no place, to have no home in the States, not have a home in Canada and if the money ran out, where would we be? On the street, that's where I kept figuring, I'd be on the street. I really did," said Inferrera.
Cohen said he received a call from Immigration Canada about Inferrera's case Thursday afternoon.
"Once I was able to give some information about Nancy as a person and the role she was playing in the life of Mildred, and I do believe the fact that Nancy did honour the removal order and did leave Canada as instructed to do by law, we were getting a much more sympathetic review from Immigration. And ultimately we got the good news," he said.
Lloyd Hines, warden for the District of Guysborough, called the case an example of "bureaucracy gone wild."
For now, Inferrera and Sanford remain at a motel in Calais, Maine. Inferrera said they plan to return to Guysborough County Friday.
She said after her temporary permit expires she'll reapply for permanent residence.