Mexican journalist facing deportation fears for safety

Posted by admin on Jan 20th, 2012

By Yolande Cole, January 19, 2012, Georgia Straight

A Mexican journalist facing deportation from Canada says she fears for the safety of herself and her family if she’s forced to return to her home country. Karla Berenice Garcίa Ramίrez fled to Canada with her husband in 2008 after she received death threats for going public with allegations of corruption within the Mexican government ministry of the National Council for Culture and Arts. Since she published a book in March 2011 detailing corruption she’d uncovered while working for the ministry, Ramίrez and family members in Mexico have received increased death threats.

“I am afraid for my life, and my family’s life, including my two (Canadian-born) babies,” she told reporters at a press conference today (January 19).

The woman’s refugee claim was rejected in 2010, as was her pre-removal risk assessment application in November 2011. But her lawyers are hoping that an appeal to the federal court, as well an application to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds, will prevent her from being deported.

“Karla, her husband, her two Canadian-born daughters have been in Canada for a number of years, have worked in Canada, have volunteered, and of course Karla has continued her passion in Canada, which is to work without censorship as a writer,” said Ramirez’s lawyer, Lobat Sadrehashemi.

“Karla is exactly the type of person that our refugee system is supposed to protect,” she added. “She believes with all her being that it is her duty to expose the corruption, or else it will just continue. She is a whistleblower, and she’s done it at great risk to herself and her family.”

Ramίrez said she is one of “thousands of Mexicans” whose cases have been denied by the Canadian immigration system.

“Just around 10 percent have been accepted, because the Canadian authorities consider Mexico as a safe and democratic country,” she claimed. “Now I know they just listen to Felipe Calderόn, when they should listen to Mexican citizens.”

Sozan Savehilaghi of the organization No One Is Illegal noted that Ramίrez has “immense community support” locally.

“She has established a family here, she has two Canadian-born children, and she has been contributing significantly through her volunteer efforts with education, with writing, with children’s programming,” said Savehilaghi.

“For the sake of her and her family’s safety, and based on the life that Karla has established here, we want her to stay.”

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