Monday, February 13, 2017

A Valentine for Dima Siam: Grant this Syrian Refugee Permanent Resident Status in Canada

(Take action on February 14 to end an immigration nightmare for Ottawa-based refugee and mother of four facing deportation to Syria, details below) 

Maria Al-Rayyan is one of Canada's newest citizens, born in Ottawa in December, 2016. But Maria and her 3 Canadian brothers live in a world of fear and uncertainty. Their mother Dima Siam, a Syrian refugee, is still under deportation order from Canada to Syria, based on a simple paperwork era. Dima's house in Syria was destroyed by shelling in 2012; in 2013, her sister-in-law was kidnapped and disappeared in Syria.
 Maria Al-Rayyan. Her mother is under deportation order from Canada to Syria.

Since her arrival in Canada in 2012, Dima Siam has lived in a virtual prison without status. Dima cannot visit her parents overseas, and her mother was denied a visa to visit Canada and be with her during the birth of Maria in December. In addition, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada's own errors have caused unnecessary delays in the case as well.

A Traumatized Family
While her husband and four children are all Canadian citizens, Dima remains under deportation order to Syria because of a simple paperwork error. She has applauded as some 35,000 Syrian refugees have been welcomed to Canada, but wonders why, despite having all of the proper checks in place – security, health, income – she has not been landed. The effect on her and her family has been devastating. The children are afraid to go to school for fear their mom might not be home at the end of the day. The stress has led to anxiety attacks that have landed Dima and her husband in Ottawa emergency rooms.

We are calling on Justin Trudeau, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, and Parliamentary Secretary Serge Cormier to finally do the right thing, end this psychological torture begun under the Harper government (and, unfortunately, continued under the Trudeau government), and grant Dima Siam IMMEDIATE permanent resident status.

Please email or call Trudeau, Hussen and Cormier on Tuesday, February 14, and demand that they deliver the ultimate Valentine gift: a release from the indefinite imprisonment of living under a deportation order to Syria, and permanent resident status for Dima Siam.

Why Valentine's Day? 
Because it is a day based on a saint who was himself imprisoned.

In the ancient Roman Empire, Emperor Claudius II banned rituals leading to love and marriage, as young men in love or who married were reluctant to join the army, for which Claudius was having recruitment troubles. Although the Emperor declared engagements and marriages to be illegal, a priest called St. Valentine felt the Emperor's dictates were unjust and started to conduct marriages in secret. Once his activities became known he was jailed and later executed, in part for helping prisoners escape.

1. Send emails with Permanent Residency for Dima Siam in the subject line and a short note explaining why Dima should be granted status in Canada. Send  to, and

2. If you have a moment, please call with the same message: Ahmed Hussen (613) 995-0777; Serge Cormier (613) 992-2165, Justin Trudeau,
(613) 992-4211


The Rural Refugee Rights Network
(613) 267-3998

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