Out in the Open

Parent-Child Separation

This week, Piya Chattopadhyay delves into different ways parent-child separation happens in the name of immigration enforcement here in Canada, with people who have directly experienced it.
Cristina Acuram (third from the left) and her family back in the Philippines. Cristina came to Canada as a caregiver in 2007. She’s hoping her family will be allowed to join her in Canada. (Submitted by Cristina Acuram)

North Americans were shocked when they discovered thousands of kids were divided from their families as part of the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy earlier this year. This week, Piya delves into different ways parent-child separation happens in the name of immigration enforcement here in Canada, with people who have directly experienced it.

Here are the stories from this week's episode...

Refugee parents can bring their kids to Canada, so why can't kids bring their parents? 

Elisée Makola and Humayun Sawar came to Canada for different reasons, by different routes, and from different countries. But what they have in common is that they arrived as unaccompanied minors. They've each been granted refugee status, but have no legal right to bring their parents here to join them... because Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada defines a "family member" as a spouse, common-law partner, or dependent child. Elisée and Humayun discuss the price of leaving their parents behind.

'Love brought me back': Father deported, then detained reflects on time apart from family

Olukunle "Olu" Adetunji first came to Canada from Nigeria in 2012. Not long after, he met his wife Kimora and her two kids... and they had a child of their own together. Olu was then deported back to Nigeria in 2014, becoming what Kimora calls a "Facetime dad" for two years. Unwilling to be apart from his family, Olu came back to Canada, only to be found out and detained. After his release, he says all he wants is to be with his family.

'As a caregiver, why can't we join with our family here?'

Cristina Acuram came to Canada in 2007 as a caregiver to support her four children back in the Philippines. She says she left to provide them with a better life, a good education, and enough food... but being away from home has taken an emotional toll on her, and caused her children to grow up faster. She tells Piya how she's still holding hope that the federal government's caregiver program will allow her kids to join her in Canada.

'They are the forgotten victims': Ex-inmate says kids of incarcerated parents need more support

How do you rebuild after family separation, especially when it happened as a result of a choice you made to break the law? Piya speaks with a woman who was incarcerated for just over two years because she was convicted of fraud. She says being separated from her four kids was a very difficult adjustment... but that it was also an adjustment reuniting.

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