Korean family granted 3-year temporary stay
Just over a week ago they got a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada saying care for their 15-year-old son, Sung-Joo Maeng — who is autistic and epileptic — was too expensive.
Since then the Moncton community has rallied around the family and politicians have been working overtime to help reverse the decision.
On Wednesday, the federal government received a letter from the province promising to provide health, education and social services for the Maeng family as long as they're granted permanent or temporary resident status.
Nicole Druckman, the family's lawyer, sent a release through her office late Friday that states: "Citizenship and Immigration Canada has informed them that the temporary visas are being printed and they have been granted a temporary stay of three years while their permanent residency application is being processed."
The Maengs moved to Moncton in 2003 and own a convenience store on Main Street.
Sung-Joo Maeng was diagnosed with autism and epilepsy at age five. His father, Tae-Shik Maeng, and his mother, Hee-Eun Jang, moved the family to Canada with the hope of getting help to treat their son's illnesses.
Jung-Joo Maeng, 19, started his Friday with a celebration at Sung-Joo's high school.
He graduated from Harrison Trimble High School last year and his brother Sung-Joo is a part-time student there.
On Friday, it was time to celebrate a victory.
Student adviser Dale McLean asked Maeng to say a few words.
"In the past month he has gone through more than most of us will go through in a lifetime and he is 19 years of age," said McLean.
Maeng took the opportunity to give thanks for the overwhelming support his family has been shown.
Thank you very much
"I can't thank you guys enough and thank you very much for all of your support," said Maeng.
On Friday afternoon a news conference was held to update the family's progress.
Everyone was on hand, including Sung-Joo.
Druckman was hoping she'd be able to deliver good news at the news conference, but the good news came later.
Their story has even been headline news in Korea, where an item about Libya gave John's grandmother a scare.
"They showed coverage showing coffins and everything it was a pretty serious deal for my grandmother and then suddenly our story comes up and in the subtitles it says in Korean 'Let me stay in Moncton.' I guess it was myself talking and my grandmother thought, 'Oh no there must be a war going on in Moncton and he must be crazy to want to stay in Moncton.' so we told her, 'No, no, no that's not what's going on. There's no war going on and we're just hoping to hear positive news from CIC'," said Maeng.