A Red Deer man who is trying to bring his new wife and stepdaughter to Canada fears for their safety while their immigration is delayed.
Bruce Peturson sent in his immigration application to the federal government in June 2019 for his wife Liliana Morillo Arcilla and her 13-year-old daughter Jackliana, of Venezuela.
They have been living in Trinidad since early 2019 to escape the civil unrest and humanitarian crisis in Venezuela.
He said living in Trinidad has been difficult, because they face discrimination. And they now risk deportation back to Venezuela in August when their temporary visa expires.
“After 13 months of receipt of our application, the last I heard was (the federal government) hasn’t even started to look at it yet,” said Peturson, who got the update through Red Deer-Mountain View MP Earl Dreeshen’s office.
“I can’t even get a response out of Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada. That’s shameful. She’s suppose to be here after a year, if we meet all the criteria.”
The couple was married Dec. 21, 2018, and since then, Peturson has taken his two children to visit Lilian and Jackliana.
“You don’t get married to someone to not be with them,” he said.
Peturson said his immigration lawyer is also having trouble getting a response from any level of the immigration department, and he’s sure many families face lengthy delays, based on the content of social media campaigns that are underway.
He said delays can’t be blamed solely on COVID-19.
“The COVID excuse doesn’t hold any water. COVID didn’t start until March, so we were well ahead of that.”
He said last year, the department said it never received his 2018 tax information. He sent it again, both electronically as well as a physical copy this time, and he wonders if the original form was lost in a stack of files on someone’s desk.
“What is going on? All I’m looking for is a fair shake.”
He hopes that they can qualify for a special visa to reunite families.
“We have been married for more than 18 months. Let her come here and let her finish the process here. If you have the means to be able to support them, then what is the hold up?”