SASKATOON -- After years of petitioning the government, a Colombian-born mother is set to be deported this Friday, which would separate her from her 4-year-old Canadian-born daughter.

“It’s extremely hard because I haven’t been to Colombia for six years and I have a life here,” Diana Parra Bedoya told during a joint phone call with her immigration lawyer, who is currently filing an appeal to a federal court for a stay of the deportation order.

“If I go back there, I’ll have nothing. And then, I have no idea when I’d be able to return,” she said, noting she greatly fears for her safety there and hopes to remain with her young daughter. “I really hope I can continue my life here.”

Canada counted 12,122 people as removed in 2020, which is 875 more than the previous year and the highest number since at least 2015, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data reported by Reuters.

CBSA said the numbers were high because figures from March 2020 to the end of 2020 included “administrative removals.” According to the agency, approximately 75 per cent of all removals last year involved foreign nationals leaving the country on their own accord. Reuters reported that in 2019 there were 1,657 administrative removals, compared with 8,215 last year.

As for Bedoya, she came to this country in 2014, after fleeing violence in her home country and went on to give birth her daughter with her then-husband in Canada. This country is the only life her daughter has ever known.

“She doesn’t have a Colombian passport and it’d be really hard to get custody right now,” she said, noting she’s been separated for years from her daughter's father, who lives in Canada as a permanent resident.

Since December 2019, Bedoya and her daughter have been living in St. Catharines, Ont. with Bedoya’s longtime common-law Canadian partner. But before that, the pair had been fighting for her to stay and gain permanent residency status.


But on Feb. 17, the Canada Border Services Agency told her that she is out of time and scheduled to be deported this Friday.

A CBSA spokesperson told in an email that the agency is bound by the Privacy Act in regards to personal information and that “immigration details are generally not in the public domain and are protected by privacy.”

Tyler Goettl, Bedoya’s Burlington, Ont.-based immigration lawyer, knows how challenging cases like hers can be, but told in a phone interview that he is hopeful CBSA will be sympathetic to Bedoya not wanting to leave behind her family.

"The issue here is whether CBSA should enforce Diana's deportation order at the expense of her 4-year-old Canadian child, who will be separated indefinitely - potentially more than two years - from her mother while that application is processed," he said.

He worries about the potential mental health impacts the forced separation would have on the child. Goettl also noted a past court decision did find that Bedoya’s fears in returning to Colombia were credible.

Goettl said a deportation stay would provide enough time for the government to process the sponsorship papers from Bedoya’s spouse, Diego Restrepo Jimenez. The lawyer said they filed the application back in January, when he was initially able.

In the meantime, Jimenez, in association with the Hamilton-based advocacy group Colombian Refugees Association, has started a petition, urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to take notice of the case.

On the website, Jiminez wrote that he’s fighting for a “decision [that] does not allow the breakdown of my family, separating my partner Diana from my life and that of her 4-year-old daughter.”

Jimenez added that “during all this time we have strengthened all our affective daily personal ties. Our relationship has made us dependent on each other in order to move on with our lives.” For the time being, Bedoya is trying to stay positive and is carrying on and still “expecting the best.”