Letter of Support for Issam Al Yamani

Today, the OPIRG Guelph Board of Directors released the following letter:

Dear Minister Goodale,

The Board of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group – Guelph wishes to express dire concern regarding the case of community activist Issam Al Yamani and we write to you today to request that you grant him ministerial relief and reinstate his permanent residency to allow him to continue to live with his wife, kids and granddaughter in nearby Mississauga.

OPIRG Guelph, like other members of our network, has longstanding ties of support to the Palestinian community here in Ontario. We know that Issam has called Canada his home since 1985. In the thirty years that he has lived here, he has established a family and has been an active member of the community, organizing community events, film screenings, talks, building civil society coalitions, and more.

Despite following the rules expected of a citizen and an active member of his community, Issam has been subjected to numerous hurdles and several deportation orders that have tried to prevent him from continuing to live with his community and family in Canada. For example, he was subjected to two security certificates between 1988 and 2000: both were considered null and void by the Federal Court. None of these measures have proven that he is a threat to public safety, nor have they provided evidence for why he should be asked to leave. If anything, such measures harden our resolve to support Issam, as they reflect a security regime that concerns us—standing against the values of freedom of movement and safety that all peoples should enjoy in these territories.

As mentioned, Issam has been a resident of Canada since 1985. His immediate family (children, wife and granddaughter), and his entire community are in Canada. If deported from Canada, he would effectively be exiled from his family and the community he has worked to build and support. Further, Issam is stateless. Deporting him to Lebanon would subject him to undue hardship as he is not a Lebanese citizen and as a Palestinian refugee, he would face discriminatory measures there.

It is our solemn and strong position that the Canadian government must respect Issam’s rights to family, privacy and a safe home by allowing him to live peacefully with his family in Canada, his only residential home, without the threat of deportation.

Reinstate Issam’s permanent resident status and let him remain in Canada—creating further suffering for the Palestinian community in Canada is reprehensible and separating Issam from his family, from the life he has built here, would be supremely unjust.

Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.

In solidarity with all refugees and stateless peoples,

The Board and Staff of OPIRG Guelph.

The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen,
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

The Honourable Lloyd Longfield,
Member of Parliament for Guelph (Ontario)