Montreal Roma family facing deportation – Rally outside Montreal Holocaust Museum to show support


Montreal Roma family facing deportation – On Monday, March 25th a crowd rallied outside the Montreal Holocaust Museum in a show of support for a Roma family facing imminent deportation. Monika, a single mother, and her 10-year-old daughter Alexa* are facing deportation on Wednesday, March 27th. (*For their protection, the name of the girl has been modified and only Monika’s first name is being used.) Monika came to Canada as a refugee 10 years ago, at the age of 18. Her daughter, now 10, was 8 months old. Monika and her entire family left Hungary because of the mounting discrimination and violence against Roma people. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) has now given them two weeks to leave the country, in the middle of the school year. 

The rally took place in front of the Holocaust Museum to highlight the fact that at least 500,000 Roma were killed in Europe during the Holocaust. Neo-Nazi movements targeting Roma have seen a resurgence in the past decades across Eastern Europe. According to a 2014 Harvard study, owing to the establishment of vigilante groups hate crimes against Roma and other minority groups in Hungary increased at an alarming rate over a five-year period. Moreover, despite the adoption of European Union (EU) anti-discrimination regulations and laws, the study concluded that extremist organizations, private individuals, and state officials in Hungary continued to widely and openly discriminate against Roma by a variety of methods.

Monika, a single mother, and her 10-year-old daughter Alexa

Despite these facts, Monika’s appeals to remain in Canada have fallen on deaf ears. In 2013 after a three-and-a-half year wait her refugee claim was refused in a decision which made light of the situation of Roma people in Hungary. Two years later a lawyer put in an application for permanent residence for Monika and Alexa on humanitarian grounds. However, the lawyer failed to include any evidence and so the file was refused six months later.

Then in May last year the CBSA refused a pre-removal risk assessment and gave Monika and her daughter a deportation date for July 4th but just before, Monika was informed that the flight was cancelled and it would be rescheduled. By September a new lawyer had put in a new humanitarian application for Monika and her daughter. Nevertheless, on March 13th, 2019 CBSA called Monika in and told her she would have to leave the country in two weeks, on March 27th. Monika asked if her daughter could finish her school year. The agent refused. Monika and Alexa are now facing impending deportation to Hungary where they have no one and Monika hasn’t lived in 10 years. Canada is the only country Alexa has ever known and her home.

The wheels of justice turn slowly and for Monika and Alexa it would appear that they have ground to a halt, barring an act of God, or government agent. 

By: Deborah Rankin – [email protected]
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