EXCLUSIVE to the Kings County Advertiser and Register
By Wendy Elliott
Thirteen months after a letter writing campaign began to keep a 25-year-old Acadia University student in Canada, Jane Gomes feels like she has her life back.
The Bangladeshi computer science student learned March 21 that she has been allowed to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
“I’m so relieved. It’ s a ‘yes’,” she said in an exclusive interview with The Advertiser and Register after hearing the verdict.
Gomes and her lawyer Lee Cohen met with immigration officials in Wolfville to get the news.
“The war’s over, as far as I’m concerned,” the veteran immigration lawyer said. He indicated Gomes’ case had been under a Pre-removal Risk Assessment.
The assessment lists the reasons Gomes has been allowed to remain in Canada. Chief among was the negative climate toward women and Christians in Bangladesh.
Gomes also graduated last spring and has prospects in Canada. It was noted that she had “lost her child, suffered trauma in Canada, deserved time to grieve and start the healing process.”
Furthermore, the decision was based on the support, “if not of the entire Wolfville city, at least of the Acadia University community.” Gomes is currently working on a Masters program.
Cohen suggested she can now look forward to permanent resident status after years in legal limbo.
Gomes’ support group, her lawyer suggested, was central to the decision. Sixteen mature women in the Wolfville area have backed Gomes for almost three years.
“I don’t have words to express how important the case the Friends were,” he said. They offered financial support, lobbied and researched violence against women in Bangladesh.
Gomes’ existence changed forever on July 13, 2009 when her seven-week-old daughter stopped breathing. The young mother was jailed and did not see the baby again.
In April 2010, after pleading guilty to failing to provide the necessities of life, she was released on a bond posted by Rev. Judith Tod of Wolfville. She went back to university and later testified against her former partner.
Read more of this exclusive story in this week's edition of The Advertiser.