Carlo Escario still can’t believe that he will be able to continue living in Toronto.
The 36-year-old health worker was at Toronto Pearson International Airport Thursday morning, waiting for his flight back to the Philippines. He was getting deported after his immigrant status was revoked due to misrepresentation.
With an hour left before his flight, Escario said he was picturing what his life will be like in the Philippines.
“I still love the Philippines, but I was thinking about my life,” said Escario, who worked at Toronto General Hospital during the pandemic.
“How will it be? And knowing that I already have a life here, a career that I build up here for so long that it’s just going to be gone away.”
But he never boarded the plane.
Escario was granted a temporary resident permit by the federal government.
“I feel still shocked and overwhelmed,” he told CP24 Thursday night. “I’m really happy.”
Escario was initially going to be deported in May but requested a delay so that he can get his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Thousands of people signed an online petition, created by his family and friends, calling on the government to let Escario stay.
His deportation was eventually postponed.
Escario, along with his family, friends and other supporters, then continued to plea with federal officials to grant his application to remain in the country.
“With all of the people’s help and the supporters that my deportation got cancelled,” he said.
Escario came to Canada in 2007 and worked as a live-in caregiver. He became a permanent resident three years later. But after officials found that he did not disclose that he had a wife and a child in the Philippines, they ordered his removal from Canada.
Escario admits that he made a mistake, saying he feared that his application would be delayed in the process.
“I’m really sorry for it. It’s like a lesson learned for me that I should have done the right way on it. I’m still thankful that they considered (my application). They have compassion for me that they granted my stay here in Canada,” he said.
Immigration lawyer Eddie Kadri said Carlo’s situation is “all too common.” He said not many people in the same position as Carlo get a happy ending.
“For many, it’s really a decision driven by fear and anxiety because of the processing delays that they perceive are going to result from telling the truth,” Kadri said.
He believes the delays are something that the government could easily address.
“We need more technology injected into our system so that when you do have a change in an application, it shouldn’t take months. And by alleviating this fear, you’ll see a lot of these misrepresentation cases just go away.”
Monica de Vera, one of the people who helped Escario, said she didn’t get much sleep and was anxious about what’s going to happen to her friend.
“I was very pessimistic, but I wasn’t going to stop fighting,” she said. “We were not going to stop until the very end. Carlo’s situation is connected to the wider issues regarding immigration and migrant rights in Canada.”
Their months-long campaign to help keep her friend in Canada finally paid off Thursday.
“I am incredibly grateful for all of the people who took action to support Carlos and his family,” de Vera said.
“I really hope everybody feels powerful because I know I do.”
Source: Brian Aguilar, CP24