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Deportation imminent for Langley man
José Figueroa’s Walnut Grove Lutheran Church is holding a prayer gathering on Thursday morning and a press conference Friday, after learning he will likely be deported back to El Salvador any day.
“Canadian Border Service Agency is moving forward to try to enforce the deportation order,” said Figueroa on Tuesday. “They called me for an interview to fill out application for travel documents and discuss removal.”
He may be forced to seek sanctuary at a church.
“It is so unfortunate that they are doing this, since it just sends the wrong message to my family.”
Figueroa is pleading with fellow Langley residents to send letters to the department of citizenship and immigration and to Langley MP Mark Warawa, calling for action now to prevent him from being ripped away from his family.
In spring, Immigration Canada denied him permanent residency status because of his involvement as a student in El Salvador with the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) during the civil war.
Since elements of the FMLN were linked to violent acts during the fight to overthrow a government that was committing genocide at the time, that was enough to exclude Figueroa under broad new anti-terrorism guidelines imposed in the wake of the 9/11 tragedy.
His case manager even indicated that he could parent his three children using Skype on the computer. His wife, who is recovering from major surgery and doesn’t work, is expected to raise their children alone.
All three children were born in Langley. Their oldest is autistic and has benefited from the school system supports here. There would be no such help in El Salvador.
Figueroa has run a very public campaign to fight the ruling and has found support from around the world and from Warawa and other federal politicians.
This summer, Newton-North Delta NDP MP Jinny Sims, immigration opposition critic, presented petitions in Parliament and brought Figueroa’s case up in question period.
His role with the FMLN was never violent and Immigration Canada recognizes that.
Numerous people, including his church pastor, have been supporting Figueroa in his cause to stay in Canada, including José Jr.’s teacher.
People from all over Canada have been involved in the ‘We are José’ campaign, and musicians and documentary makers have publicized his case.