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The Inside Story: Roma family ordered deported hiding in Toronto church

Last Updated Jul 3, 2015 at 11:23 am EST

Jozsef and Timea Pusuma and their daughter Lulu have been hiding in a Toronto church ever since they say a bad lawyer misrepresented their refugee case and they were ordered deported in 2011.

“There was some key evidence, really the proof of what Jozsef did for a living back at home that was never submitted to the refugee board,” lawyer Andrew Brouwer told CityNews. “Because of that their claim was refused.”

Key evidence that was omitted included the Pusuma’s being brutally attacked by four neo-Nazis in July 2009 for being Roma and for being outspoken human rights activists in their homeland of Hungary.

The Law Society of Upper Canada is now investigating that immigration lawyer, Viktor Hohots, but Citizenship and Immigration Canada refuses to let the Pusumas stay here while waiting for that case to be heard.

In a statement to CityNews, the department said, “We expect them to respect our immigration laws and leave Canada.”

The Free Lulu movement is demanding the family be allowed to stay here legally while the Law Society hearing is being heard.

Jozsef Pusuma said, “The decision is always ‘No, no, no, no. You are a bogus refugee the government said.’”

Click here to read more about the history of Romas in Europe. And watch the above news report on The Inside Story with Avery Haines.

Read the full response from Citizenship and Immigration Canada:

Due to privacy laws, we are not able to provide details regarding the Pusuma family’s case without their consent.
 
Asylum claims are heard by the Refugee Protection Division (RPD) of Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB).  The IRB is a quasi-judicial, independent body, which provides a fair hearing to asylum claimants.  Decisions are made based on the merits of the specific facts presented in an  individual case, and in accordance with Canada’s immigration laws.
 
Canada’s asylum system was designed to enable claimants to manage their own claims, if desired, and not rely exclusively on the services of paid legal professionals or other representation. The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) provides claimants with the legal right to representation by a paid legal professional or other person of their choice, but at their own discretion (financial and otherwise).
 
The IRB has broad authorities to ensure that proceedings are full and fair and this has been incorporated into IRPA, the IRP regulations and the IRB Rules of Practice. If individuals believe their interests are not being properly met during the process they can bring this to the attention of the IRB and seek postponements to acquire new representation. Please contact the IRB for more information.
 
Both the RPD and the Federal Court have been aware of the allegations against Mr. Pusuma’s former counsel. The Federal Court has nonetheless upheld the RPD’s decision to refuse Mr. Pusuma’s asylum claim. With the assistance of his current counsel, Mr. Pusuma has challenged decisions at the RPD and Federal Court on numerous occasions. His challenges have been dismissed or refused each time.
 
All individuals have the right to due process. However, once they have exhausted all legal avenues, we expect them to respect our immigration laws and leave Canada.