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Toronto track star and his family granted 1 year reprieve from deportation | CBC News

A Toronto athlete and his family have been granted a one year reprieve from deportation to Jamaica following a public outcry and fears they could face political persecution, advocacy group Migrant Workers Alliance for Change announced Tuesday. 

Tamarri Lindo and his family moved to Toronto when he was 15. He’s now 20 and recently won a national bronze medal in the 110-metre hurdles. Lindo completed high school in Toronto before joining York University.

The Lindo family has received a temporary resident permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the advocacy group said Tuesday in a news release. 

George Lindo, Tamarri’s father, said they are relieved and will continue working toward permanent residency. 

“After much tribulation and stress, finally receiving a temporary resident permit from IRCC, allowing my family and me to stay in Canada for a year, feels like a breath of fresh air,” he said in the news release. 

“At the same time, this should not have happened, and should not happen to anyone. I urge the government to keep their promise and regularize all undocumented people,” he said. 

A man jumping over a hurdle.
Tamarri Lindo has built a life in Canada as a successful university track athlete. (York University Athletics & Recreation)

The family fled Jamaica in 2019 because it believed it was at risk for its political affiliations. Lindo’s father had volunteered and helped campaign with the country’s opposition, the People’s National Party.  

George Lindo has survived three assassination attempts in Jamaica, the news release states.

Aidan Simardone, the family’s lawyer, said the status the Lindo family now has should have been granted when they first arrived in Canada.

“I also know that there are many others like them who are deported and killed. To stop this from happening again, the government must grant permanent resident status to undocumented people arriving in Canada to make a better life,” he said in the news release. 

A man in a suit sits in a downtown square.
The Lindo family’s lawyer Aidan Simardone is trying to garner support for the family after the deportation date was set. (Nicole Noworyta)

In an interview with CBC Toronto, Simardone said he started crying when the family received status.

“We’re really happy … it’s a huge relief for all of us,” he said. 

He said it’s been very stressful to have the deportation hanging over their heads. He’s been working on the case 15 hours a day. 

Simardone said he wants to emphasize that this is not an example of Canada’s immigration system working well. People from Africa, the Caribbean and the Middle East are subjected to more scrutiny by the system compared to those from Europe, he said. 

“Situations like this happen all the time,” he said. “I hope that this is a wake up call for the public and our government as well.” 

The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change said nearly 2,000 people wrote letters to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Immigration Minister Marc Miller through their website to ask the deportation be stopped. 

On X, formerly Twitter, Simardone thanked members of the public who contacted officials about the family. “Because of your support, the family was granted temporary resident permits,” he said. 

“Unfortunately, the Lindos’ case is not unique. Numerous people are quickly deported from Canada to their death. The Lindos should have never been in this situation in the first place,” he said. 

He called on the federal government to grant status to anyone who comes here for a “better life.”

In a statement to CBC Toronto, a spokesperson from Miller’s office said it can’t comment on individual cases due to privacy legislation. 

They said a decision to remove someone from Canada “is not taken lightly.” 

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