Hundreds in a small Saskatchewan town are breathing a sigh of relief after finding out a family set to be deported to Honduras within two weeks gets to stay.
Sinclair Harrison was among a group of volunteers in Moosomin, Sask., working to help Victor Santos and his family to stay in Canada.
A fundraiser had been planned for Thursday in order to raise money for the family to cover some of their legal bills.
But 15 minutes before lunch began and with around 400 people gathered at the legion, Victor received a phone call: The family had been granted a two-year stay by the federal government.
“It was fantastic. There were tears of joy and naturally the family was elated,” Harrison said Thursday.
“It was such a relief. I can’t imagine what these people have been going through every night not knowing what’s in the future.”
Victor said that Thursday will be the first night in a long time he will be able to sleep soundly.
“My life is coming back,” he said.
Santos, his wife, Lesi Hernandez, and their two children have been living in the town, located 200 kilometres southeast of Regina, for the past several years.
Santos left his home country of Honduras in 2007 after he says he witnessed a murder and began receiving death threats.
The family first filed for refugee status when they arrived in Canada in 2011, but they were denied due to a lack of evidence to support their fear of returning to Honduras. Subsequent appeals of the decision have also been denied because no new information was provided.
Had been faced with July 5 deportation
The family was informed of a July 5 deportation date at the beginning of June. The youngest of the Santos’s two children, Edward, was born in Canada and was not included in the order.
The family’s last hope was for government intervention. They had requested the help of Saskatchewan MP and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
Lesi said at first, she and Victor were confused by…