You see a lot of things in this job that break your heart, but one of the saddest was this week in the boardroom at The Sudbury Star when Tarra Barnett and six-month-old daughter Sophia visited to tell their story.
My name is Tarra Barnett and I am going to be holding a charity barbecue on Sept. 27 at The Brick on Notre Dame to raise funds for myself and my six-month-old daughter, Sophia Barnett.
Here is my story and why this barbecue is so important to me and my family.
I grew up in Iowa Falls, Iowa, and lived there most of my life until I met my then fiancé, Clinton Barnett, and moved here to Sudbury to be with him.
We got married and started the immigration process for me to stay here with my new family.
After being here almost a year, I received my work visa and started working immediately. After a long three-year process, we were informed that I was approved for my permanent residence in Canada, and we set our date to finalize all of the papers.
Shortly after hearing the news, we also found out that we were expecting our first child, which was a blessing since we were told that we wouldn’t be able to have a child. On Oct. 12, 2013, just two weeks before going to finalize all of paperwork and being three months pregnant at the time, Clinton passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly in the middle of the night.
Once immigration was informed of his passing, all of our applications were automatically denied and I was told I had to leave Canada. His family and I have been fighting with the help of (Sudbury MP) Glenn Thibeault and Brian Band to get them to re-open and approve my case so that I can stay and raise my daughter here in Canada.
I want to raise her close to his family, so that in a way she can know her father. I was working before going on maternity leave, but, now that my case was denied, all of my income (maternity leave, baby bonus, etc.) has been cut off. I’m not even allowed to go back to work.
I have been living off my savings trying to fight so my daughter and I can stay, but I will be forced to leave soon because I cannot afford to continue living with no income. I am trying to raise funds to help keep us here, but also to raise awareness to the immigration board that what they are doing lacks compassion and is unjust.
A charity barbecue is being held Saturday to raise funds to help Tarra and Sophia pay expenses while they fight to remain here.