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Warawa optimistic ‘common sense’ will prevail in Figueroa deportation case

Jose Figueroa and MP Mark Warawa spoke outside Warawa
Jose Figueroa and MP Mark Warawa spoke outside Warawa's Langley office in January of 2013.
— image credit: Dan Ferguson/Langley Times file photo

José Figueroa hopes to clear his name once and for all in Federal Court on Aug. 14 in Vancouver.

Figueroa’s lawyer is hoping to get a certificate indicating that the Langley father of three is not on any terrorist list because the group he supported while living in El Salvador during the civil war is not on any federal terrorist list.

The court hearing was delayed from July.

The fact that the FMLN isn’t on any list has already been agreed upon verbally by both Immigration Canada and the courts, but the certificate would provide reassurance and help solidify any doubts, he said.

“This certificate we are looking for will constitute proof that I don’t pose a security risk and also would help to clear up my name against the allegation of membership with a terrorist organization,” said Figueroa.

He can’t attend the hearing because he has sought sanctuary for the past nine months at his church. But he will listen in via telephone conference.

The Canadian Border Service Agency still have an arrest warrant out for him and continue to watch Figueroa all the time. The CBSA put out an arrest warrant for him to be detained in October 2013.

He can’t understand why the CBSA won’t drop the arrest warrant given the Federal Court has ordered a new review into his case to stay in Canada permanently.

Langley MP Mark Warawa is optimistic that “common sense will prevail and José will be able to stay in Canada for good.”

“The FMLN has never been deemed a terrorist organization. José has never presented any risk to Canada. In fact, it is in the best interest of Canada to have a contributing citizen like José live here,” said Warawa.

Warawa can’t explain why his government hasn’t told the CBSA to drop the arrest warrant or why the Minister of Public Safety hasn’t just stepped in and cleared Figueroa to stay in Canada.

“I think the initial decision [by one Immigration officer in Ottawa] to deport Mr. Figueroa caused things to go off the rails. But I think common sense will prevail for him and they won’t separate this family.”

He points to the oddity of it all as there is an El Salvador embassy in Ottawa.

“They have diplomats there and have a good working relationship with Canada and they are all FMLN,” he said.

Warawa said he has requested a timeline for when Immigration Canada will review Figueroa’s case again but so far, he has had no reply.

“We will stay on top of this,” he said.

But Warawa said he has never visited Figueroa in sanctuary, deeming that action “inappropriate” because of his position as an MP and Figueroa’s deportation order.

Figueroa expects a delegation from El Salvador to be present at his court hearing. The Consul of El Salvador in Vancouver will be there as well.

“We Are José” supporters will rally outside the courts again and numerous supporters will witness the hearing, including pastors and clergy from several different churches.

“Right now it is very important to get the community involved into writing to the ministers and also there is a new petition asking the ministers to take note on the decision of the Federal Court,” said Figueroa.

Go to the “We Are José” Facebook page to link to the petition or go to change.org.  So far 247 people have signed it.

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