Family To Be Deported from Canada Because of Daughter with Cerebral Palsy

Apr 20, 2011
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Six years ago, David Barlagne, his family, and his software company, moved to Canada. They had been trying to become legal citizens but their requests had been denied. In fact, Canada is deporting the Barlagne’s family because one of their daughters has Cerebral Palsy.

Cerebral Palsy is a developmental disability that affects body movements and muscle coordination. It is caused by brain damage during fetal growth. As a result people with cerebral palsy may not be able to ambulate, communicate, play, or eat in the same ways as most other people. Due to their difficulty in communicating, people often assume that those with Cerebral Palsy have learning problems. However, most people with Cerebral Palsy have above average intellect.

As one newspaper reported, her “excessive burden” would cost over $5,000 a year in special education. Another newspaper reported that “her presence was deemed to be an undue burden on Canada’s health services.” Mr. Barlagne is confused about this matter because it was the Canadian authorities who encouraged him and his software company to move from French Guadeloupe to Canada. His daughter’s condition had been made known to the authorities.

“Immigration asked me if my daughter is sick. I told them that my daughter has a disability but it’s not an illness. She does not require medication, or surgery, or medical care and the agent told me to write nothing on the forms” says Mr. Barlagne “I followed all the procedures to come here.”

He insists, that in 2005, one of the embassy officials recommended he not mention his daughter’s disability. However, two of the embassy officials that have worked with Mr. Barlagne denied that they told him to conceal this information. In 2007, on their application to become permanent residents in Canada, Mr. and Mrs. Barlagne denied that any of their family “suffer from a grave illness or a physical or mental disorder”. Mr. Barlagne said he answered no because “Rachel is not sick, but handicapped.” Barlagne’s lawyer argues “The questions on these forms aren’t clear, they are badly worded. She doesn’t have a mental or physical illness.”

Their case for judicial review was dismissed and the Barlagne family will be deported in July.

Author: Melissa