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2013 - The Year in Review: José Figueroa sought asylum in a church
This week, The Times is taking a look back at the events that helped shape the past year.
From the widely unexpected results of May's provincial election (and its repercussions for the Langleys) to the people we lost — both pioneers, who lived long and fruitful lives and a pair of young men who were taken too soon — 2013 was a year of ups and downs.
A trio of fatalities made 2013 one of the worst years for fire deaths in recent memory.
The Township meanwhile, found itself at the centre of two major development controversies in 2013, while the criminal element didn't appear to distinguish between the two municipalities.
And a Langley father of three took desperate measures in his fight to stay in Canada.
Of course, it wasn't all gloom and doom, as tens of thousands once again gathered in Langley City's downtown core for the annual Good Times Cruise In, the annual Langley Has Talent competition helped a young mother and aspiring opera singer move one step closer to realizing her dream and a group of children did their part for the environment by planting saplings at the Derek Doubleday Arboretum.
The ongoing saga of a Langley father trying to avoid deportation to Central America took a bit of a dramatic turn in 2013.
In October, José Figueroa took sanctuary in a church as he continued his well-publicized fight against an attempt by immigration authorities to return him to his native El Salvador.
An arrest warrant for Figueroa was issued by the Canadian Border Services Agency, leading the father of three to seek asylum at the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church. He’s been living there ever since, unwilling to even step outside the building for fear of being detained before his hearing, which set for Jan. 15.
Figueora entered Canada legally 16 years ago and is raising his three Canadian-born children with his wife. But he was ordered deported from Canada for belonging to the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN), a group linked to violent acts against the regime that ruled the country during the civil war from 1980 to 1992, even though the FMLN went on to win a nonviolent and democratic election that saw them formally recognized by the government of Canada.