Nova Scotia

Senior facing deportation from Guysborough

A 72-year-old woman in Guysborough is facing deportation to the United States, and her 82-year-old Canadian friend says she'll go with her.
Mildred Sanford, right, and Nancy Inferrera rely on each other and don't want to separate. (CBC)

A 72-year-old woman in Guysborough is facing deportation to the United States, and her 82-year-old Canadian friend says she'll go with her.

Nancy Inferrera left the U.S. in 2008 with her longtime friend and roommate, Mildred Sanford. They bought a trailer and settled in Sanford's hometown of Guysborough.

Inferrera thought Nova Scotia would be her permanent home, but her applications to stay in the country were rejected by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

She's now packing everything she owns into cardboard boxes.

"I thought we were comfortable here. I loved it here. I wish someone would really try to help. I didn't come here with bad intentions," she told CBC News.

Inferrera fears she could become homeless if she's forced out of her trailer. She shares expenses with Sanford, and between them, they have $1,700 in pension cheques a month.

Inferrera says she cannot find an apartment in Massachusetts that she can afford on her $700-a-month pension.

"I just have no place to go. I don't know what's going to become of me. I really don't," she said.

Sanford doesn't want to leave her friend, who she met 30 years ago while working in Massachusetts. They were both factory workers outside Boston. They moved in together after Sanford's husband died.

Sanford is preparing to go too, even if it means skipping the heart surgery she needs in Halifax.

"She's more like a sister to me. We've been close, just like my sisters. And my sisters have been very close to her too," said Sanford.

Sanford's niece says her aunt is in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease and needs Inferrera to take care of her and manage her medication.

'Almost no options'

Inferrera's first application for permanent residency was turned down. A subsequent application to stay on humanitarian grounds was also denied.

Inferrera said she's never received an explanation.

Lee Cohen, an immigration lawyer in Halifax, said Inferrera's fate lies with Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.

"She has almost no options, no formal legal options without intervention from the minister. And that means that Nancy's probably going to have to leave Canada sometime in the next two weeks," said Cohen.

Inferrera filled out the application to stay on humanitarian grounds on her own. Cohen said as a lawyer, he would have advised her to talk about how her deportation would cause hardship to Sanford, a Canadian.

He said Inferrera could appeal to the federal court to stay the removal order, but she cannot afford it.

The mayor of Guysborough is calling Nova Scotia's cabinet minister Peter MacKay on behalf of the two women. MP Rodger Cuzner is writing a letter to immigration authorities.

But unless Toews grants a temporary stay, Inferrera will have to board a bus and head back to the U.S.

Inferrera is anxiously awaiting word from the Canada Border Services Agency that it's time to go.

'We can't even celebrate Thanksgiving because I don't know if that man is coming today or tomorrow," she said. "It's no good living like that, rather than give me a date and that's it. And I wish somebody would help me, please."