STATEMENT August 25, 2021
Migrante Canada welcomes the news that Filipino health worker Carlo Escario was granted a temporary resident permit in Canada.
Escario received this decision last Friday, August 5th while he was at the Toronto Pearson International Airport waiting for the flight that would take him back to the Philippines. The temporary resident permit is a reprieve from immediate deportation and allows Escario to stay in Canada for two years.
Escario’s struggle with his immigration status started in 2013 when his status was revoked by immigration authorities. They said that Escario misrepresented himself by failing to declare that he was married and had a child in the Philippines. Escario has taken responsibility for this mistake.
Escario’s case generated wide support from the Filipino community, including from Anakbayan Toronto and from Migrante Canada. The Keep Carlo In Canada Campaign, organized by Monica De Vera and Karla Villanueva Danan in Toronto expanded to become a coalition with Anakbayan Toronto, Migrante Ontario and the Migrants Resource Centre Canada. Its open letter addressed to Immigration Minister Mendicino to stop Escario’s deportation gathered thousands of signatures. Supporters emailed, called and tweeted Members of Parliament and IRCC Minister Mendocino. Migrante Canada reached out to its networks, alerted and advocated for Escario to Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East and the NDP Critic for Immigration, and to Jagmeet Singh, the Leader of the NDP.
Even under the pandemic, Canada deported more people in 2020 than in the previous five years. The rejection of humanitarian and compassionate applications also doubled, according to the Migrant Rights Network.
Escario is one of thousands of caregivers and migrant workers who come to Canada every year for work to feed their families, put their children through school, and provide them with the basic services that are lacking, if not absent in the Philippines. For Escario and other overseas Filipino workers, the worsening socio-political and economic conditions in the Philippines that include joblessness, poverty, food insecurity, poor health care, government abandonment and neglect push Filipinos to migrate, not out of choice but out of desperate need. The continuing COVID-19 pandemic and the Philippine government’s response to the pandemic have made the situation of our kababayan back home and thousands of OFWs in the different global regions even more difficult.
Escario is the face of the thousands of Filipino frontline and essential workers who not only take care of those with COVID-19 but also keep Canadian society going by providing needed and essential service under the pandemic – whether it is in the farms, in the meat packing plants, in long-term care facilities, hospitals, groceries, etc.
The Philippine government, through its representative in the Philippine Consulate General, was silent on the case of Escario. It offered neither support nor assistance, which is its obligation to Philippine nationals wherever they are. This response typifies the Philippine government’s neglect and abandonment of Filipino workers overseas, the families of OFWs and its own citizens in the Philippines, especially under the current pandemic.
The temporary resident permit is welcome news and gives Escario renewed hope and more time to work for his permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
For reference: Stef Martin Secretary-General, Migrante Canada
*Migrante Canada is an alliance of 13 Filipino migrant and immigrant organizations across Canada working to advance the rights and welfare of Filipino migrants and immigrants