Family of slaying victim denied immigration
By RENATO GANDIA
Last Updated: March 12, 2010 8:46am
Arcelie Laoagans dream of a better life for her family in Canada may have been killed when she was murdered two years ago.
The Manila office of Immigration and Citizenship Canada has twice denied her familys application to move here from the Philippines, the Calgary Sun has learned.
Lydia Sombrito, Laoagans mom, said her grandchildren have not been told they wont be coming to Canada any time soon because the news was just heartbreaking.
My grandkids have been asking when theyd be coming here, said Sombrito.
She said Laoagans husband Gregorio is still grappling with the immigration departments decision.
Have they no mercy to the little ones? Gregorio asked Lydia, referring to his three boys between the ages of 12 and 10.
Laoagan, a church-going, hard-working mom, was brutally murdered in 2008, just when her husband and five children then ages 19, 18, 10, 9 and 8, were preparing for immigration-mandated medical exams.
The process came to a screeching halt, but Marlyn Hori, Laoagans sister, said she was encouraged by an immigration official from Ottawa to continue the application.
Hori took on the sponsorship duty for the Laoagans. She first tried applying under family class immigration, followed by humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
In a letter to Gregorio, immigration officials said both applications were denied because Hori is technically not a member of the Laoagan family and the humanitarian and compassionate ground failed because Laoagan is now dead and the principle of family reunification has become useless.
I considered the best interest of your children and assessed that it would be better for them to continue living with you here in the Philippines, A. Valotaire, an immigration official, told Gregorio in the letter.
Valotaire said theres no evidence of sufficient financial support for the Laoagans if they were to move to Calgary, and the trust fund set up by West Canadian Graphics for the family is better spent in Philippines where it would go a long way.
Alvin, Laoagans 20-year old son, wanted to keep his moms dream of pursuing a better life in Canada alive.
Hori said thats doubly hard to accomplish because he doesnt have a strong ties to the country with his mom now dead.
Hori attempted to at least get Alvin, but that didnt work either because the young man is not an orphan, which is a requirement if a relative is to be the sponsor.
She said her nephew is continuing his university education in the hope that one day hed be moving to Calgary not just for sentimental reasons of seeing where his mom lived, worked and died.
He really wants to help his family, now that his mom is gone, said Hori.