In The News: “Winnipeg lawyer saddened, not suprised …”

Published by CBC News on 15 Oct 2015:

Winnipeg lawyer saddened, not surprised by family’s detention at U.S. border

‘These types of situations are increasingly common,’ says Alastair Clarke

A Winnipeg immigration lawyer says his heart goes out to a man who was questioned by customs officers in the United States for seven hours and denied entry into the country.

“He’s a Canadian and, based on the information I have, he had no reason to think anything untoward would happen trying to cross into the U.S.,” Alastair Clarke told CBC News.

Abdelkrim Boulhout said border officials in the U.S. treated him and his wife like terrorists this past weekend.

Boulhout said he, his wife and their four young children were on a family road trip to Grand Forks in North Dakota, but when they arrived at the U.S. border crossing in Pembina, N.D., their vehicle was searched, they were questioned for hours and were eventually asked to withdraw their request to enter the U.S.

Boulhout said he believes the incident was related to the fact that he and his family are Muslim.

Clarke, founder of Clarke Immigration Law in Winnipeg, said he was saddened to hear about the incident, but not surprised.

“Currently, immigration and law enforcement are working very closely to share information, so these types of situations are increasingly common,” he said.

Clarke doesn’t practise U.S. immigration law, but he had general advice for anyone who might find themselves being questioned by border authorities. Co-operation with officials is extremely important, he said.

“These officials have broad discretionary authority,” he said.

Clarke also said if you’re in a situation in which you don’t understand a document, you need to ask for clarification or assistance.

As well, he reminded people never to sign something if they don’t understand it.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection told CBC News it would not comment on specific cases, citing privacy laws and “law enforcement reasons.”

Clarke Law: Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Clarke Immigration Law assists clients come to Canada as Permanent Residents and as Temporary Residents. The applications for the various stream are completely different and require specific expertise. We help by providing an experienced immigration lawyer to guide you through the Canadian immigration system and give you the best chance of success.

Immigrate to Alberta

experienced immigration lawyerAlastair Clarke was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta – a vibrant city in the prairies. The city is the gateway to the north and provides services to many Temporary Workers (TFWP) on their way to Fort McMurray and the oil sands. Alberta has been booming for many years and there are many good jobs. Unemployment in Alberta is among the lowest in Canada. We provide assistance for those interested in Alberta because Mr. Clarke is an experienced immigration lawyer with the benefit of living and working in Alberta.

Immigrate to BC

Mr. Clarke moved from Alberta to British Columbia (BC) for university. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree (Philosophy; Spanish) at the University of Victoria in the capital city of BC. Canada’s western-most province is the gateway to the East. There are many flights to Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo and other metropolitan centers in Asia. While at the University of Victoria, Mr. Clarke was the Student Coordinator of the Peer Helping Program, worked with the Office of the Ombudsman on legal issues and helped International Students. These students successfully received Study Permits to study in BC. He helped these students from India, China, Nigeria, Poland and other countries in the world.

After Victoria, Mr. Clarke moved to VanWinnipeg Immigration Lawyercouver – the largest city in BC and one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Vancouver is called “Hollywood North” because it has a thriving movie industry and TV industry. Many shows, including iZombie, Once Upon a Time and Arrow, are filmed in Vancouver and it is quite common to just stumble upon a productions crew in action.

Immigrate to Ontario

Mr. Clarke moved to Ontario and graduated just a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Kingston is a historic city on the Canadian border with one of Canada’s oldest military base and a vibrant downtown core.

In Ontario, Mr. Clarke has lived in various locations in Toronto and Kingston. Toronto is a vibrant city with a rich multicultural mosaic. On any day, you can take the subway and listen to Urdu, Cantonese, Tamil, Spanish and French. The city expands in every direction and there are distinct neighbourhoods akin to New York. Manhattan has the Tribeca; Toronto has the Entertainment District. Manhattan has Chinatown; Toronto has Little Korea.

Mr. Clarke lived in Toronto for many years and practiced immigration and refugee law at one of Canada’s top boutique law firms on Bay Street. He assisted clients from Nepal, Iran, Iraq, India, Pakistan, Israel, Russia, South Africa, the USA, China, Vietnam, Ukraine, St. Lucia, Guyana, Mexico and many other countries. He is one of Manitoba’s most experienced immigration lawyers and he can help you and your family.

Immigrate to Manitoba

In addition to Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec, Mr. Clarke now lives in the capital city of Friendly Manitoba: Winnipeg. Winnipeg is the located at the heart of North America. It is a center for Aboriginal Culture with a vibrant arts community. Winnipeg has a spectacular historic downtown with Parisian architecture. The Exchange District is booming with chic restaurants and cafes.

Mr. Clarke’s law firm is located in Osborne Village in Winnipeg – the neighbourhood was ranked the “Greatest Neighbourhood” in Canada by CBC in 2012. Osborne Village is a community where everything is at your fingertips. Boutiques and cafes line the streets with trendy fashions and souvenirs. In the winter, Osborne Village has access to the Assiniboine River and you can skate along the river to downtown.experienced immigration lawyer

Manitoba is a stable, peaceful province that is perfect for professionals and families. The school system is welcoming to children from all over the world. Winnipeg’s neighbourhood of St. Boniface is French. The Louis Riel School Division is 100% in French and there is a strong community from Burundi and Congo.

Manitoba boasts 4 seasons and the ever-changing weather of the prairies. Summer is festival season and there are international activities, music and events from every culture. Folklorama is a must-see. In Fall/Autumn, the Elm Canopy – which is one of the only remaining in the world – turns from green to orange and yellow in the Fall. International Students arrive to the University of Winnipeg and the University of Manitoba on Study Permits. The international-acclaimed Museum of Human Rights is perfect for a winter day. Spring is a wonderful time in Manitoba with flowers and everything blooms.

Manitoba has a strong economy boosted by the Canadian Mint, the International Centre for Infectious Diseases, the Museum of Human Rights, the Winnipeg Art Gallery, the pork Industry and many other cutting-edge businesses.

Retain an Experienced Immigration Lawyer

Mr. Clarke has lived in 5 of Canada’s 10 provinces so there are still more places to explore. Eastern Canada, including the provinces on the Atlantic Ocean are also vibrant with their own unique culture. Sask has a booming economy with the Potash Industry and there are many jobs. Mr. Clarke has assisted many clients who live in Sask and assists as an experienced immigration lawyer.

Immigration to Canada can be one of the best changes in your life and the life of your family. But it can be a daunting task. Clarke Immigration Law assists individuals and businesses come to Canada – and stay in Canada. We provide an experienced Immigration Lawyer to help you through the process.

Contact us for more information.

News: Clarke Law Stops Deportation

Alastair Clarke stopped the deportation of a Burundi client. He had been represented by other counsel and his previous application was denied.

Published on CBC News, June 22 2015:

Man from Burundi granted deportation reprieve, options minimal

‘I am sure I will face violence and threats or they may even kill me. I don’t know,’ Bergise says

CBC News Posted: Jun 22, 2015 11:32 AM CT Last Updated: Jun 22, 2015 1:22 PM CT

Bergise has been living in Winnipeg since August 2014 with his sister and her family but fears his deportation after his application for refugee status was denied. He has been granted a stay of removal that expires Sept. 15.

Bergise has been living in Winnipeg since August 2014 with his sister and her family but fears his deportation after his application for refugee status was denied. He has been granted a stay of removal that expires Sept. 15. (CBC)

A man from Burundi seeking refugee status in Canada, has been granted a short reprieve from his deportation.

He was set to be deported Tuesday at 4 a.m., but he heard Monday that he was granted an extension until Sept. 15.

Bergise – who is only being identified by his first name for fear he will be identified if he is forced to return to Burundi –came to Canada in August 2014 to stay with his sister in her Manitoba home. Within a few months he filed a refugee claim to keep him from being sent back to the Central African country

At peace in Canada

Bergise left Burundi after being pursued by the political party that is currently in power. They tried to intimidate Bergise into joining their party, betraying his father who is an elected member of an opposition party. Bergise said he categorically refused.

Gloria Mpangaje

Gloria Mpangaje, Bergise’s sister, says she is sure her brother will face persecution if he returns to Burundi. (CBC)

After this encounter, his parents feared for his life and got him out of the country. Bergise said it wasn’t long after that police officers showed up at his parents’ home looking for him.

“When I left, I escaped the threats of Burundi. So when I’m sent back to Burundi, I am sure I will face violence and threats or they may even kill me. I don’t know,” Bergise told Radio-Canada in French.

“Here in Canada I’m at peace. I feel well, I’m with my sister, I feel safe.”

Canadian immigration laws

Alastair Clarke, a Winnipeg-based immigration lawyer, is doing all he can to prevent Bergise’s deportation. The Sept. 15 extension brings relief but no guarantee of safety.

Monday, Bergise was granted a motion to stay his removal but that doesn’t change the fact that Bergise’s application and appeal for refugee status has been denied and a person can only go through the process one time.

Clarke was not Bergise’s lawyer during the original refugee status application process but said it was denied due to a lack of preparedness and missing documentation.

“At this point because of the political situation in Burundi, he faces personal risk and we are trying, with the assistance of the federal court, to keep him in Canada until the country stabilizes and he’s no longer at risk,” Clarke said Monday.

Burundi has faced substantial political turmoil in recent months and Bergise is in particular danger as the son of an elected political official, Clarke told CBC.

The situation in the country is changing daily, which will change their outlook on the prospect of Bergise returning home.

Clarke said it is possible tensions will continue to build as the country’s next presidential election looms in mid-July and the current president is seeking a third term, contrary to the country’s constitution.

“Bergise’s mother, father and two siblings are currently in an a refugee camp in Uganda because the situation became so violent and so volatile and they felt that their lives were also at risk,” Clarke said.

There is a one-year ban on Bergise pursuing his next course of action, applying for permanent residence based on humanitarian and and compassionate grounds, after having his refugee claim denied. Clarke said they will have to work with Canada’s border services come September to have him stay in Canada for the required 12 months.

His only other course of action, Clarke said, would be to apply for pre-removal risk assessment if Burundi was added to the list of exempted countries. Currently there are no exempted countries on the list.

Facing possible violence or death

“I’ve been blessed by his presence here with us,” said Gloria Mpangaje, Bergise’s sister.

She has been especially thankful for Bergise being in her home to help since the birth of her third child in March. Now that Bergise is temporarily safe, they will look to find a way to work with the United Nations Refugee Agency to sponsor the rest of their family to come to Canada from Uganda.

“He’s the only family that I have here. My kids have been connecting with him very emotionally, they have been loving him and learning so many things through him. We’ve been very very thankful,” she told CBC’s Information Radio.

Mpangaje is also confident her brother will face either violence or death if he is sent back to Burundi but for now, Bergise is safe and will celebrate his 21st birthday in Canada with his family.

In The News: “Menacé d’expulsion du Canada, un Burundais obtient un sursis…”

Published by CBC News (Radio-Canada) on June 22 2015:

Menacé d’expulsion du Canada, un Burundais obtient un sursis

Un homme originaire du Burundi vivant à Winnipeg qui craint d’être torturé et exécuté s’il est déporté vers son pays natal ne sera finalement pas expulsé du Canada mardi. Son avocat Alastair Clarke rapporte que son client a obtenu un sursis après négociation avec le ministère de la Justice.

Bergise, qui ne révèle pas son nom de famille afin de protéger son identité, a fui le Burundi en août 2014 après avoir été menacé et attaqué.

« Des jeunes qui appartiennent au parti politique au pouvoir, eux, ils m’ont cherché pour que j’entre dans leur parti. Moi, j’ai refusé carrément, mais ils ne voulaient pas [accepter mon refus]. Ils m’ont cherché. C’est pour cela que mes parents ont cherché comment je peux quitter le pays immédiatement, parce que ma vie était en danger. »— Bergise, jeune burundais menacé d’expulsion

Âgé de 20 ans, Bergise habite maintenant avec sa sœur Gloria, son beau-frère et leurs trois enfants. Il a demandé le statut de réfugié peu après son arrivée au Canada, mais sa réclamation a été refusée en raison de motifs techniques, a expliqué son avocat Alastair Clarke, qui ne représentait pas le Burundais au moment de la demande.

Le Burundi est ravagé par la guerre civile depuis plus de 13 ans. Bergise a raconté que son père est chef de quartier et sans affiliation politique, ce qui fait en sorte que la famille est la cible de pressions du gouvernement et de violence policière. Le jeune homme a affirmé que le reste de sa famille devait s’exiler dans un camp de réfugiés en Ouganda.

« Ici au Canada, je suis en paix. Je suis bien. Je me sens en sécurité. Si l’on me fait rentrer, je sais qu’ils vont me tuer », a déclaré Bergise.

Une récente flambée de violence au Burundi a incité Ottawa à suggérer aux Canadiens sur place de quitter le pays. Pourtant, le gouvernement fédéral refuse de suspendre la déportation de Burundais qui sont réfugiés au Canada, dont 650 sont visés par des mesures de renvoi.

L’avocat de Bergise avait déposé un appel vendredi en Cour fédérale pour suspendre l’expulsion de son client d’ici l’élection présidentielle prévue le 26 juin dans le pays africain, « quand la situation politique devrait être plus stable ».

Selon Alastair Clarke, Bergise pourra fêter son son 21ème anniversaire à Winnipeg. Il ajoute qu’il compte travailler avec l’Agence des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés pour venir en aide à sa famille qui vit dans un camp de réfugiés en Ouganda.

CLEA: Immigration Presentation

As part of the Law in the Library series, Alastair Clarke will be giving a free presentation to the public on May 19, 2015 at St. Vital Library. Everyone is welcome to attend.


  • Spousal Sponsorship applications
  • Temporary Resident Application
  • Temporary Resident Permits
  • Citizenship Applications
  • Dependent Children – changes to the definition in IRPA
  • Manitoba Provincial Nominee Program
  • And more more.

For more information, check out the CLEA Website for more details and to RSVP.