Newcomers to Calgary face deportation without infant son
Dimeji Tawose and his wife Deborah thought Calgary would be the perfect place to raise their kids.
“Basically it's about my children, says Dimeji, “I want them to have a better future.”
Both Tawoses are medical radiographers, among the most in-demand specialties right now in Canada, so they qualified for skilled worker visas. When they applied for the Canadian visas, they were a family of four from Nigeria but living in Abu Dhabi, with a third child on the way. While they waited to hear whether they would qualify for a Canadian visa, they travelled to the United States on a visitor visa to have their baby, thinking it would be advantageous for him to have US citizenship.
The Tawoses say they were upfront to both the US and Canadian governments about Deborah’s pregnancy, they were simply trying to give their baby a better life. The couple had no idea how much trouble that one decision would cause them.
“Never. Not in my wildest dreams,” says Deborah Tawose.
The family’s Canadian skilled worker visa was ultimately approved, and they carried on with their plans to move to Canada with their newborn son and two older children, 7 and 9.
The baby, Inioluwe, was not included on the family’s visa for entry to Canada, because he wasn’t yet born when they applied. However, Canadian officials did know Deborah was pregnant during her pre-entry medical exam, and for some reason did not think to include the third child that would inevitably be a part of the family.
As soon as Inioluwe was born, the family started sending emails to alert officials to the fact that they now had an undeclared family member living with them. They received a reply that their query had been received, a reply that specifically said not to send more emails.
When they did hear from officials, it wasn’t good news. Citizenship and Immigration informed the family that the fact their son was not declared meant Deborah, Dimeji and their two older children would be deported to Nigeria until Baby Inioluwe’s documentation could be sorted out.
“He hasn't got a legal right to enter Nigeria,” says Dimeji, “They're going to stop him and send him back where he is coming from.”
Deborah can’t imagine being forced apart from her infant son.
“He’s so little, he’s so small, she says, “He’s still breastfeeding. So he can’t be away from mum, for even two, three hours.”
So, the family waits at the Calgary International Airport CBSA office for an answer. They have submitted the emails that prove they tried to declare the baby, and were told to stop emailing. After several hours, border services officers have some news. Even before the officers can speak, Deborah’s eyes well up with tears.
“They have recommended,” begins the Border Services officer, “That we issue temporary resident permits…”
She gets no further. The Tawose family begins to cheer, clap and hug. Deborah Tawose’s tears become tears of gratitude. Even though the family’s first impression of Canada was one of bureaucracy and misunderstanding, they have only gratitude for the opportunity to stay in Calgary.
The family will have one year to sort out the paperwork that will add Baby Inioluwe to their existing skilled worker visa.
“The burden has been lifted off my shoulders,” says Dimeji Tawose, “It's a huge relief. a huge relief.”