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'Tears come to my eyes': Track star and family granted extension to stay in Canada after deportation order

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A rising track and field star overcame a big hurdle in his dream to represent Canada at the Olympics.

After a sudden deportation order, he and his family have been granted a one-year extension to stay.

“I’m very happy about it honestly, because it means the dream is still on,” a smiling Tamarri Lindo told CTV News Toronto Tuesday.

The talented 20-year-old hurdler has been competing in hopes of joining Canada’s National Olympic Team, when the deportation threatened those dreams.

At the end of June, Lindo and his family were told to leave in 10 days and one day before a qualifying championship.

“I had a call from the CBSA [Canada Border Services Agency] saying I have to come in and report and everything, and I was all the way in Quebec. And it threw off everything I was preparing for.”

Lindo’s family arrived in Toronto from Jamaica in 2019. His father was a volunteer with the political opposition. He had been shot at and had his neck slashed. Lindo’s little sister, born in Canada is now five years old.

READ MORE: He had dreams of running for Canada in the Olympics, then he learned his family would be deported

Their appeal to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds had been denied until thousands advocated and the government issued a one-year reprieve.

“It’s a complete honour I’m so grateful that they are able to stay, and knowing I made a difference is incredible,” said Aidan Simardone, the family’s immigration lawyer.

Simardone, who took on the case pro-bono, said unfortunately what happened to the Lindo family is not unusual and reform is badly needed.

“I do hope the government reconsiders both its immigration policy and its removal policy because honestly this family should have been given status when they first got here. That would avoid a lot of stress.”

Lindo didn’t qualify for the 2024 games in Paris, but has his sights set on the 110 metre at the World Athletics Championships and the Olympics in 2028.

In addition to training, Lindo travels between Oakville and Toronto to study at York University.

He, his family and their supporters are relieved about the extension.

“I’m extremely grateful. Every time I sit down tears come to my eyes to know there’s people out there willing, wanting to fight for me and my family,” Lindo said. “It means something.”  

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