New Brunswick·New

Korean family's deportation order may be lifted

The immigration ordeal of a South Korean family facing deportation because their youngest son is autistic and epileptic is almost over, the Conservative MP for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe said Thursday.

MP says feds needed more information

The provincial government has written a letter to Moncton's Maeng family saying it will pay the health costs for Sung-Joo Maeng, 15, who is autistic and epileptic. (CBC)

The immigration ordeal of a South Korean family facing deportation because their youngest son is autistic and epileptic may be almost over, the Conservative MP for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe said Thursday.

Robert Goguen said the federal government needed a more detailed letter from the province about the family, and once that's dealt with the deportation order will be lifted.

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.

"There's been a real show of support for the family and for all the right reasons. They're very productive and look they're an integral part of our society in Moncton and that's exactly where we want to keep them," Goguen said Thursday.

"So I'm very pleased for them and, listen, if we would have had to put 10 times as much effort, we'd have done the same thing. I'm just glad it's coming to a halt before even close to this deadline that was looming on June 30."

Last week, the federal Department of Citizenship and Immigration told the Maeng family, which has been living in Moncton since 2003, they must leave Canada by the end of the month.

The federal government argued that because Sung-Joo Maeng, 15, is epileptic and autistic the costs of his care would be too expensive.

Social Development Minister Sue Stultz presented a letter to the Maeng family Wednesday with a guarantee the provincial government will cover the health-care costs for their son.

Nicole Druckman, the family's lawyer, said the provincial government's support will help the family's bid to stay in the country.

The Maeng family has operated a convenience store in Moncton since 2003. ((CBC))
"Knowing that that's the case and knowing there's just been an oversight tells me that once the federal government reads this letter, we are very hopeful that they will grant our clients the ability to stay," Druckman said.

Druckman said she hopes to have news on the Maeng family's future by the weekend.

But she said they are ready to take the case to court if immigration officials don't change their minds.

Weekend rally still planned

Meanwhile, a Moncton woman who has been heading up the community support for the Maeng family said she is thrilled to hear the provincial government has promised to pay health care costs for the family.

Mary Sullivan said the rally she's planned for this weekend to support the family will go ahead hopefully as a celebration.

"I think this means that it will be a short fight. I think it shows the federal government that the whole province of New Brunswick is behind this family and I think it means that they're going to be able to stay, I hope so at least," Sullivan said.

Sullivan said she is proud the provincial government came together so quickly to make a decision to support the Maeng family.

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. They have another son, Jung-Joo Maeng, who is studying science at Dalhousie University in Halifax.

The family has owned and operated Moncton's Main Stop Oriental Market on West Main Street since 2003.