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Buy tamales, try salsa dancing and help José

A fundraising event is being held on March 28 to support Langley husband and father José Figueroa. He has spent the past six months inside Walnut Grove Lutheran Church after seeking sanctuary after the government announced he would be deported to El Salvador. - Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times file photo
A fundraising event is being held on March 28 to support Langley husband and father José Figueroa. He has spent the past six months inside Walnut Grove Lutheran Church after seeking sanctuary after the government announced he would be deported to El Salvador.
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times file photo

April will mark six months since Langley’s Jose Figueroa sought sanctuary in the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church.

A judicial review was put off in January but now has a new date of May 26. It will determine if he can stay in Canada on compassionate grounds.

“It has been almost six months without being able to go to work. Bills and legal fees keep piling and now that the legal process is restarting again,” said Figueroa. “We do need lots of support.”

Friends and supporters of the Figueroas are holding a fundraiser at the church on Friday, March 28.

It is a pupusas and tamales sale  (those are traditional foods from El Salvador). Doors will be open at 3 p.m. and anyone wanting to have coffee and be informed about his case can drop by. Between 4 and 5 p.m.,  a dance instructor will be teaching some salsa and cha cha steps.

The food sale will start at 5 p.m. People can pre-order the pupusas and tamales by sending an e-mail to forfreedomssakeldi@gmail.com  or writing on the We Are Jose Facebook page.

Anybody who wants to donate can do so to account 63355905 at any TD Bank branch. The account holders are Jonathan Dyck and Chris Nichols, who have been helping Figueroa. Donations can also be sent to the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church.

Figueroa and his family spent Christmas and New Year’s together inside the church. His three children wrote letters to the Minister of Immigration instead of letters to Santa this year. They asked the government to let their dad stay in the country.

The Canadian Border Security Agency put out an arrest warrant for Figueroa in October, which sent the working Langley father of three to seek sanctuary in his church.

The Minister of Public Safety Stephen Blaney has the power to grant him exemption, but there has been no such decision as of yet.

Figueroa arrived here as a refugee from El Salvador more than 16 years ago with his wife. He was ordered deported for his political involvement in the FMLN, a group which resisted the oppressive regime in El Salvador during the civil war.

Walnut Grove Lutheran Church is located at 20530 88 Ave.

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