Aug 24, 2009 04:30 AM
Hours before her legally blind, 69-year-old mother was deported to Poland last night, Aldona Pindiur was in tears, begging for help.
"She’s old, she can’t see … Who will look after her in Poland? All the family is here," Pindiur said in halting English. "Can you help her stay with me? Please help."
But there was no help, no last-minute reprieve: Stefania Magdziak was put on a plane to her native Poland last night, days after she lost her appeal to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds after a failed refugee claim.
Pindiur and her brother, Miroslaw Magdziak, came to Canada almost 15 years ago. They applied to stay as landed immigrants and were accepted. Their mother came for a visit in 1998 and never went back.
An unscrupulous immigration consultant advised the family to file a claim for refugee status so that she could stay, Miroslaw said. The application was rejected and a few weeks ago, her plea to stay in Canada with her family was also denied.
The family says they learned at 2 p.m. Friday that she had to leave almost immediately.
"We know we made a mistake but please let us fix it," Miroslaw said yesterday. "My mother is old, frail and hasn’t lived alone for a long time. We’ll do anything to fix (it)."
Magdziak, whose elder daughter and mother are buried in Canada, has grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Toronto as well as her two children. She lived with her daughter and was never left alone because she needs help getting around the house.
In Poland, there is almost no one to take care of her, her son said. She has a sister but she’s older than Magdziak, he said.
The family has arranged for friends to meet her in Warsaw and drive her to her hometown, Ryn, about 300 kilometres to the north. She will initially stay with some friends of Pindiur "because she hasn’t been (to Poland) in 11 years and many things in her apartment will need fixing," her son said.
Her family fears her health will suffer. "She’s not well and she can get medical care here," said her grandson Tommy. "There’s nothing like that in Ryn. There are few medical services."
Yesterday, her family gathered at Pindiur’s Etobicoke home, helping Magdziak pack and praying for a miracle that would allow her to stay. But as the minutes ticked by and it became clear she would have to leave, they became emotional.
Magdziak was perhaps the only one not in tears.
"I’m done with crying," she said in Polish as her granddaughter-in-law, Izabela, translated. "I just want to leave safely, without falling sick … I don’t want to create more problems for (the family)."
Miroslaw, meanwhile, said he would try to sponsor his mother back to Canada. "I don’t know what the process is or how long (it would take). But as long as she’s there, we will keep worrying about her."
Officials from Citizenship and Immigration Canada did not respond yesterday to requests for comment.