Paralyzed failed B.C. refugee misses kids, gives up fight to stay in Canada

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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ABBOTSFORD, B.C. A paralyzed refugee claimant who sought refuge in B.C. Sikh temples says he is ready to leave his sanctuary and return to India.

Laibar Singh has lived in two temples in the Vancouver area since he was ordered deported in December 2007, successfully avoiding three attempts to return him to India.

Swarn Gill, president of the Abbotsford, B.C., temple where Singh is living, said Thursday the widower misses his four children back home in India.

Hes sad for a few things, Gill said. He started thinking about going to see his family because he doesnt know how long he will live.

Singh also fears he could be arrested if he leaves the temple because officials with the Canada Border Services Agency have warned him thats what will happen, Gill said.

When they come down to talk to him they always tell him, If you go out (and) we catch you we (will) deport you right away. This is something thats going through his mind all the time.

Singhs lawyer declined to comment but Gill said the paralyzed man, in his 50s, no longer has hope that the Canadian government will allow him to stay in Canada on compassionate grounds.

Singh used a false passport to enter Canada in 2003 and fled from Toronto to Vancouver, where he suffered an aneurysm that left him a quadriplegic.

Gill said he is among those who have financially supported Singh during his stay at the temple but that he understands the man is stressed about his situation after almost two years of waiting to learn his fate.

Theres nothing we can do now, he said. Because he wait so long and we waited so long for Immigration (to let him) stay here.

Gill said that in January, he and his wife visited Singhs children in a small village in the Punjab province of India.

His familys poor, he said, adding Singhs wife died in the early 1990s.

Singhs supporters have called on the Canadian government to let him remain in Canada, saying he wouldnt get adequate health care in India.

Gill said he is also concerned about that, but added theres a large city near Singhs village, where he could get some of the services he needs.

Organizations: Canada Border Services Agency

Geographic location: Canada, India, ABBOTSFORD Vancouver B.C. Sikh Toronto Punjab

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