After 13 Years in Canada, Jose Figueroa Faces Deportation

There’s a story brewing within Canadian politics – the story of Jose Figueroa, an El Salvador-native that immigrated to Canada 13 years ago. While a student in El Salvador, he joined a student union called Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (FMLN), a broad coalition of leftist groups opposed to El Salvador’s government at the time. Known for its oppressive regime, the government was responsible for sending death squads against civilians and multiple human-rights violations. Filmmaker Jamie Moffet, producer of the documentary “A Trip to El Salvador”, notes the regime was responsible the deaths of 75, 000 people. After failing to make headway through peaceful protest, the FMLN launched an armed insurgency. Since then, the parties have declared peace. The FMLN has been recognized by the UN as a peaceful political party since 1992 – in 2009, it won the presidential election and is currently El Salvador’s ruling party.

In 1997, Jose decided to immigrate to Canada from fear of death.  Upon immigrating, he declared his reason for moving: the danger he faced due to association with the FMLN. He has since moved to Langley and currently lives with his wife and three Canadian-born children.

In an interesting turn of events, the Canadian government refused Jose’s application for refugee status in May 2009. Officials stated Jose’s application was “inadmissible on security grounds for having been a member of a particular type of organization . . . that is, an organization that is engaged in terrorism.” He currently faces deportation. Clearly, there has been a shift in policy since, considering the government knew and accepted Jose into Canada on the same grounds they are now deporting him on. You can read more about the case on the Vancouver Sun or CTV News.

Jose and his supporters are currently running a campaign against his deportation called We Are Jose. I personally met Jose Figueroa at the screening of my video design class’s films at District 319. A student from the class produced this outstanding documentary to tell Jose’s story.
If you would like to take help take action to stop Jose’s deportation, here is what you can do.

  1. Record a short Youtube video in response to the “We Are Jose” video
  2. Send an email to the Ministers of Citizenship and Immigration and Public Safety to reverse the deportation order.
  3. Email your local MP
  4. Sign the petition form being presented to the House of Commons

There is more information on taking action here: http://wearejose.wordpress.com/tellyourstory/

If Jose faces this threat, it is possible that the lines for deportation policies will continue to be blurred. If you want to exercise your rights as an active citizen of Canada, educate yourself on this issue and help decide what happens next.

By Sonya Reznitsky