Arrest Warrant Delayed (Due To Failing Health) For Nfld. Woman Facing Deportation

Canadian Press
Atlantic Regional News

Arrest warrant delayed for N.L. woman facing deportation due to failing health
August 17, 2006

MARYSTOWN, N.L. (CP) – An arrest warrant for a Russian-Israeli woman facing deportation has been temporarily put off because of health concerns after she gave birth in Newfoundland.

The Canada Border Services Agency was set to reinstate a warrant for Angela Portnoy's arrest on Friday.

But Portnoy, who was granted amnesty during the latter course of her pregnancy, won't be arrested until she recovers from a caesarean section she had last Saturday.

The 35-year-old woman gave birth to a boy in a hospital in the southern Newfoundland town of Marystown.

Portnoy's lawyer, Lee Cohen, says he expects to receive a decision from Immigration Canada this week on her application to stay in the country on humanitarian grounds.

Portnoy has argued she should remain in Canada because of the ongoing health concerns of her children, one of whom has cystic fibrosis.

Portnoy, who was originally deported six years ago but returned a year later, said she fears what may happen to her family if she is sent back to Israel.

Portnoy and her four children had been living in the basement of Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Marystown since Oct. 2 before she went to hospital to give birth.

Her application to remain in the country includes her husband, Alexi, who was living in the church with the family until he was deported to Israel on Jan. 16 after police stopped him for speeding. He now lives and works in Mexico.

The Portnoys moved to Montreal from Israel in 1996 without seeking permission to live in Canada. They were deported four years later, but returned in 2001 – again staying without permission.

The family moved to Newfoundland in 2003.

They argued before federal authorities they would be subjected to extreme discrimination as non-Jewish Russian immigrants if they were returned to Israel. The Refugee Board of Canada dismissed their claim.