The Santos family finally got a good night’s sleep Thursday night.
The family had been facing deportation back to Honduras.
But as July 5, the date they’d be deported drew closer, the community of Moosomin rallied around the family, sending letters and petitions of support to government officials and hosting a fundraising luncheon in their honour.
It was during that fundraising luncheon Thursday that Victor Santos received an email from the government, informing him his family would get to stay in Canada on a two-year work visa.
Kevin Weedmark, editor and publisher of the World-Spectator in Moosomin, said it was emotional news for the Santos family.
“They were telling me … first of all, how happy they are, how proud they are, how they feel it is because they are in a small community that this happened,” he told Gormley Friday.
It was also emotional for the people in Moosomin who’d come out to the luncheon. They were informed of the news as they were all gathered to take a group photo.
“People were crying, people were literally dancing in the street, people were so happy about this,” Weedmark said.
But while this is happy news, for now, the Santos’ fight isn’t over yet.
“For them, the work continues. They still are putting together a humanitarian compassion appeal,” Weedmark said.
The family said it is unsafe for them to return to Honduras, where they witnessed a murder that prompted them to leave for Canada seven years ago.
Small town support
The Santos family told Weedmark they couldn’t have done this in a big city, like Toronto where they previously lived.
The support of Moosomin was apparently recognized by federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
“I actually got an email from him this morning just saying, ‘Glad to be helpful, Kevin. The community deserves great credit for showing their support so enthusiastically and I hope the next two years work out well,’” Weedmark said.
Goodale’s office was unable to comment on the story, citing privacy.
Weedmark said everyone who came out to Thursday’s fundraiser signed a petition on behalf of the Santos family. That petition will be part of their appeal to stay permanently.