Deportations halted for two Edmonton families at 11th hour

Two Edmonton families facing imminent deportation were both granted reprieves over the weekend.

One family was to be sent to Mexico, the other to the Philippines

Two Edmonton families facing deportation from Canada were granted reprieves over the long weekend. Luis Ubando Nolasco, Cinthya Carrasco Campos and their two young daughters were set to be deported to Mexico on July 4. Evangeline Cayanan and her six-year-old daughter McKenna were to leave Canada for the Philippines on July 8. (Paige Parsons/CBC)

Two Edmonton families facing imminent deportation — one to Mexico, the other to the Philippines — have been granted reprieves.

The families, both with young children, went public in recent weeks with concerns about safety should they have to return to their countries of origin.

Luis Ubando Nolasco, Cinthya Carrasco Campos and their eight and nine-year-old daughters were supposed to be on a flight to Mexico on Monday.

The family fled to Canada in 2018 and sought refugee protection after a family member's homicide. The government rejected their applications to stay and they were ordered to leave the country.

But the couple says that on Saturday, they met with Edmonton Centre MP and federal Tourism Minister Randy Boissonnault, who told them their deportation had been paused and they don't have to leave.

"I dropped to the floor. I cried a lot," Ubando Nolasco said Monday. 

Carrasco Campos added that they're thankful to everyone who stepped in to offer support.

"I appreciate their help for me and my family. It's ... good news. Yes. I feel good," she said. 

The couple's lawyer, Rachael Anderson, said in an email Tuesday that Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada advised her over the weekend that IRCC Minister Sean Fraser authorized temporary resident permits, along with work and study permits for the family.

Anderson said the duration of the permit is unknown for now, but that it will give them a chance to make their case using new evidence of the threats they face in Mexico.

CBC News has asked CBSA for comment on the case.

2nd deportation on hold

The planned July 8 deportation of Evangeline Cayanan, whose six-year-old Canadian daughter, McKenna, would be forced to go with her back to the Philippines, is also on hold, Cayanan's lawyer Manraj Sidhu confirmed.

Sidhu said Tuesday that while he is still waiting on official documentation from IRCC, his understanding is that Cayanan is getting a one-year temporary residence permit, which will allow her to file more evidence as she makes a case to be able to stay.

Cayanan came to Canada in 2010 as a temporary foreign worker. She alleges she became undocumented after she reported two employers for alleged abuse.

After her daughter's birth, she raised her on her own and became an activist. She won an award from the John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights for her work fighting for health-care access for the children of undocumented parents.

Cayanan is also a volunteer with Migrante Alberta, supporting migrant workers.

Supporters rally

Migrante Canada and its Alberta chapter have supported Cayanan and the family of Ubando Nolasco and Carrasco Campos.

Both families were in touch with Boissonnault's office in recent weeks.

"To say this was a stressful time for the Nolasco family is an understatement," Boissonnault said in a statement Monday.

"Thanks to our team working quickly with Immigration Canada, the family and their children will be remaining in Canada and in our community. Today is a good day."

Boissonnault confirmed he has also met with Cayanan and is working with IRCC but said he couldn't comment further on that case because of privacy concerns. 

Applications to stay still pending

Both families have applied to the federal government for leave to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Cayanan has argued that in the Philippines, her daughter would not have access to health-care services she currently gets in Canada. Cayanan also fears retribution for her activism and public criticism of the country's government if she were to return. 

Ubando Nolasco and his family have filed evidence that they would be in danger if they returned to Mexico. After his brother was killed in 2018, Ubando Nolasco started receiving threats and demands for money from an unknown person or group. The homicide remains unsolved. 

While speaking to CBC on Monday, the family was scrambling to find a new place to live and to clean the apartment they'd been living in ahead of the deportation.

CBSA required them to prepare to leave, so many of their belongings were already given away and they had made arrangements to move out of their current place.

Both parents work — Ubando Nolasco as a welder and Carrasco Campos in web design. They say they were able to keep their jobs now that they're staying.

As hectic and emotional as the last few weeks have been, Ubando Nolasco said the family said overall they just feel relief.

"We have to settle somewhere new to create a new adventure for our family and start fresh," he said.


Paige Parsons is a reporter with CBC Edmonton. She has specialized in justice issues and city hall, but now covers anything from politics to rural culture. She previously worked for the Edmonton Journal. She can be reached at paige.parsons@cbc.ca.