Chilean man defies deportation, goes into hiding
Published Monday, August 4, 2014 10:44AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, August 4, 2014 7:49PM EDT
A Chilean man who came to Montreal to help his ailing mother has ignored a deportation order and is now in hiding, according to representatives from the Solidarity Across Borders group.
Hector Reyes-Hidalgo was ordered to leave Canada Saturday following the rejection of his refugee claim.
“I don't know where he is, but I think he wanted to be here with his mother to help her,” said family friend Noe Artega.
His mother Julia Hidalgo-Aguilera, a Canadian citizen, suffers from ALS, and her condition is deteriorating daily. Her son has helped care for her in her Cote-des-Neiges apartment during his four years in Montreal.
“It's like a nightmare. When I wake up, I say, ‘Oh my goodness, it's not true.’ But it's true. It's like a nightmare. I miss him a lot,” she said, adding that her son was committed to staying by her side.
“Last week I fell in the bathroom and I hit my head on the floor, so that's why I need somebody. That's why my son was over here,” said the 78-year-old woman.
The 78-year-old woman applied to sponsor her son for permanent residence but the deportation order had already come down before the newer application could be processed.
Reyes-Hidalgo has no legal status in Canada, after his claim for refugee status was refused. Last year, his mother filled out an application to sponsor him for permanent residency.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada said the application was incomplete. Among the missing documents were certificates of selection for Quebec. Without that, the application can't be processed.
He has also applied for permanent residency on humanitarian grounds.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada denied it.
"Mr. Reyes is a failed asylum claimant who has exhausted several avenues of appeal within Canada's immigration and asylum system (...) All individuals have the right to due process. However, once they have exhausted all legal avenues, we expect them to respect our immigration laws and leave Canada," it said in a statement.
The Solidarity Across Borders group is asking federal Minister of Immigration Chris Alexander to intervene and fast-track the man’s sponsored permanent resident application and allow him to remain in Canada, because he's the only family member in Canada who can take care of his dying mother.
Reyes-Hidalgo's friends have taken charge of caring for his mother as he remains in hiding.
“They visit, they prepare food because she can't prepare food and have showers and everything. People are doing that and for me that's a very clear example of how Canadians react in this situation -- with compassion, with solidarity and that's how I'm hoping the government will react to it too,” said family friend Eloy Rivas.