Outcry as Mexican family is deported despite safety fears
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, January 19, 2013 12:32PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, January 19, 2013 6:46PM EST
MONTREAL - The deportation of a Mexican family that has lived in Montreal since 2008 has caused an outcry, especially among Mexicans living in Canada.
A solidarity demonstration of about 30 people was held at Trudeau Airport Saturday morning before the family boarded a plane for their home country. Quebec solidaire MNA Amir Khadir was there to show his support.
Canada ordered the deportation of Marisol Mendez, Fernando Reyes and their two teenaged children, Ingrid and Eduardo, after refusing their refugee status.
The family fled Mexico in 2008 after Reyes had been kidnapped three times, allegedly by Mexican police. They have lived here since, running a printmaking shop and a taco restaurant, as well as teaching Sunday school.
The group calling themselves Mexicans United for Regularization denounced the deportation, fearing for the deportees’ safety when they return to their country.
They also said they were upset they the family was not able to say their last goodbyes -- instead of being asked to report to the airport, as is common in deportation cases, the family was forced to report to immigration headquarters Friday night.
"We are very angry and very disappointed at the same time, because we don’t think we deserve this kind of treatment. We are not criminals. We are demanding status… Also, we are sure we have the right to be here. We are honest, hardworking people,” said Roberto Sanchez, a journalist from Mexico City and member of Mexicans for a Unites Regularization.
The Reyes-Mendez couple was involved in volunteering in Montreal and was actively involved in migrant justice groups. The Canada Border Services Agency ordered the expulsion Dec. 27, despite calls for the couple's son Eduardo to at least finish the school year.
Mexicans United for Regularization said that Mexicans who have recently been deported from Canada undergo a risk of kidnapping and extortion in their country. He argued that there have been several documented cases of Mexican asylum seekers found murdered shortly after their return to Mexico.
The group claims that every day, an average of seven Mexican refugees are deported from Canada.
Khadir criticized what he called the “hardball” Harper government stance on immigration, part of the new Bill C-31. He added that Ottawa’s stubbornness in deporting immigrants without regard for their safety is “aberrant and inhuman.”