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Family found dead trying to reach US faced deportation from Canada: Reports

Police and firefighters carry a bag off their search boat from the marshland in Akwesasne, Quebec, Canada, after two families were found dead in the St Lawrence River, March 31, 2023. (Photo by Reuters)

A family of four found dead attempting to reach the United States by boat from Canada had been told they would be deported to their native homeland Romania by Canadian authorities, reports say.

Canadian media outlets said on Wednesday Florin and Cristina Lordache and their two young children were among eight people found dead in the St Lawrence River near the US-Canada border last week.

Police in the Akwesasne Mohawk community said Florin had two Canadian passports belonging to the children in his possession.

The Iordaches’ lawyer, Peter Ivanyi, told The National Post newspaper that the Roma family arrived in Canada in 2018 and had submitted a refugee claim that was denied.

When subsequent immigration appeals also were exhausted, Canadian immigration officials told the family they needed to present themselves to Toronto Pearson International Airport for deportation last Friday, Ivanyi said. “They were so desperate they took it upon themselves to undertake this really risky adventure.”

“They didn’t tell me they were doing this,” the lawyer said. “I obviously would have discouraged them from doing something like this, but they were so desperate to not have to take their young children back to the misery that the Roma of Romania live under — in terms of housing, no schooling, no running water, police indifference, cruelty.”

Last week, authorities said the bodies were found near a capsized boat belonging to a missing man from the Akwesasne Mohawk community. A second family of four, originally from India, were among those who died.

Ivanyi said the family made multiple applications to remain in Canada on the basis that they feared persecution as Roma in Romania.

The Roma have historically faced discrimination across Europe, including in Romania, where they make up one of the largest ethnic minorities.

Human rights groups have strongly denounced utterly inhumane immigration policies by Western countries.

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