-Can you help our friend John get back to Canada.
John Carriero was born in Portugal in 1956 and moved to Canada as a four year old, settling in Vancouver in 1960 at a home on East 16th Avenue. While John’s father was busy supporting the family in concrete construction, and his mother a homemaker with John he attended Florence Nightengale Elementary School, and later Sir Charles Tupper Secondary. John had a happy and active childhood in East Vancouver, and fondly remembers time spent with many friends around Robson Park in the 1970s. John’s parents were hard working and excited about their new life in Canada. As landed immigrants, within a couple of years of their arrival they formally became Canadian citizens. The whole family was proud. There was one unfortunate situation. John’s parents mistakenly thought when they became citizens, they believed their children automatically were too. While two of his younger sisters were born in Canada, John himself officially remained a landed immigrant.
Life continued on, and for John--who really knew of no other home than Vancouver simply continued in thinking he was as Canadian--as the rest of the family. He had no other reason to believe otherwise with all but his first few years as a baby spent in Canada. The oversight from his parents resulted in him never getting his official status. When he eventually realized the situation himself, he intended to properly apply to officially become a citizen but there was never a pressing need. He regarded himself as Canadian in every other was—especially as Vancouver was home, and he had no plans to leave.
After High School, John unfortunately, as many young men of his age who grew up in East Vancouver in the turbulent 1970s, fell into the wrong crowd in the 1980s. It was a time he certainly now very much regrets. In 1994 he was arrested and charged with possession and trafficking a narcotic. He was released on bail, and convicted in February 1996 where he served a three year sentence, but was paroled in less then a year with good behaviour. He’d learned a hard lesson. But the drug charge came to the attention of Canadian immigration authorities, who surprisingly ordered him to appear an immigration hearing while he was in prison. When he explained to Immigration authorities he would obviously not be able to attend the hearing while incarcerated, somehow John was categorized as failing to appear! Incredibly, when he was released from jail, he was picked up by the Vancouver Police Dept, and after just two short immigration hearings, he was deported less than two weeks later.
Johns family was distraught. He was handcuffed, waist and ankle shackled and escorted by a three-man escort of Immigration officers onto a plane. He couldn’t understand why he was being treated like a mass murderer or terrorist. From Vancouver, he was deported to Portugal—a country that he had never known, and couldn’t speak the language. He was alone, and the stress of being in a foreign country with no immediate options to return home was worse than any prison sentence. He eventually gathered enough money to move to London in 1999 where there he could at least speak English, and did his best to try to have some normalcy. John has lived there since—but he never forgot home, and knew he had to try all he could to return to Vancouver and hoped he could become a legal Canadian citizen.
John tried to return to Canada in 2009, but suffered another setback when he was stopped at Toronto airport in 2009 and told he need to get a pardon to enter. Sent back to the UK, he did just that. The good news is that he received a full pardon in September 2016.
John's goal now is to get the necessary paperwork to return to Canada to visit, and put in motion the work to have a lawyer help him apply for a Temporary Resident’s Visa and eventually apply to officially become a Canadian citizen. On top of the good news of his pardon, John has found a leading immigration lawyer in Vancouver to take his case, but there will definitely be some costs in drafting his legal paperwork—a complex task not easy for one to do without the professional services of a lawyer—and that’s where we hope you’ll come in, to help us and our friend.
While John did break the law over 24 years ago, he paid for his crime in a Canadian jail. While the sentence then was three years, he has instead essentially paid the cost of a life sentence for the 25 years he has not been able to come home and see his friends and family again, and live in the country he calls home.
“The only family I have is in Vancouver. My brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, goddaughters, and countless friends way too many to list them”, John says. Those friends have joined together to help crowdsource the funding for John’s legal fund and return him to Canada where he belongs, and we hope you’ll help us. Even the smallest of donations help to add up.
John’s real home is in Vancouver, and now his many friends and family are hoping to finally help him secure the proper legal paperwork, and get back to where he deserves to be again.
- Brian Kelly
- Brian Kelly
- Paul & Sylvia
- Teddy Moore
- Greg & Steve Hennessy
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