A Prince George man is scrambling after the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) told him he will be removed from the country on Monday.
Though a citizen of the United Kingdom, Brett Reece Alderman, 38, has lived in Canada since he was three weeks old. He has been in a long-running battle to remain in the country ever since he was deemed inadmissible in April 2009.
Alderman's troubles stem from an 18-month conditional sentence he received for two theft-related offences committed in Terrace in mid-2007. Even though the term was served at home, it was still considered a jail sentence greater than six months and made him subject to removal.
Alderman and his lawyer had been putting together a case take to the Federal Court to allow him to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
But Alderman said he received a letter from CBSA last week denying his lawyer's request for a six-month deferral and giving him Sept. 24 as the date for his removal.
The father of five said it is not only unfair to him but to his family.
"I have a newborn baby, I have four daughters," Alderman said Monday. "They're going to just up and remove me without giving me a chance?"
Alderman and his wife, Jacqueline, said they've gathered about 20 letters of support from friends and family and a few people they never even knew until the issue was first raised in the media in December 2011 as part of putting together the case.
And family friend Barbara Holloway has made a prayer poster and put it on the front lawn of her Gould Crescent home and is trying to rally public support.
"I reach out to all of you to help generate support in helping keep him here, his home country since he was just a baby himself, with his children," Holloway said in a Facebook posting. "If anything, it's his children that need him most."
Alderman's troubles gathered steam when he failed three time to appear for an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing to appeal the inadmissibility finding. In November 2010 immigration officials considered the application abandoned as a result.
Alderman blames bureaucrats and his former lawyer for the miscommunication, saying he transferred his conditional sentence to Prince George from Terrace but was not told he also had to notify the Immigration and Refugee Board.
All it wouldve taken is for them to contact the correctional system and they wouldve said Yes, we have a Mr. Alderman on file here, this is his address this is his phone number, everything, Alderman said in a December 2011 interview.
Alderman's immigration lawyer, Erica Olmstead, indicated her client's options were extremely narrow even before the latest development. The outcome of a Federal Court case would hinge on whether it could be shown Alderman's removal would cause irreparable harm and the case law
"goes back and forth" on whether or not separation of family meets that standard.
"It's unfortunate that number one, there are five children and their interests haven't been considered by anyone and number two, Brett's been here since he was three weeks old," Olmstead said.
"There's not a lot of case law on the rights of people who aren't Canadian citizens but have been here for over 30 years...this is the only country he has any familiarity with."
CBSA spokesperson Faith St. John said that for security reasons, the agency does not provide comment on removals until they have occurred.
At least one other Prince George resident is in similar circumstances. Francois Meerholz, 24, has South African citizenship but has lived in Prince George since age 10.
In contrast to Alderman, police say Meerholz has ties to organized crime and currently faces charges of kidnapping and forcible confinement, dangerous driving and driving while impaired, driving while disqualified and trespassing spread over four cases.
If he's found guilty and sentenced to more than six months on any of the charges, Meerholz will also face removal.