Woman deported to Mexico, brother could be next

Posted by admin on Dec 27th, 2010

CBC News, December 27, 2010

A Mexican woman who fled to Toronto and claimed refugee status saying she was being persecuted for being gay, has been deported.

Brenda Garcia was returned to Mexico City on Monday morning.

Now supporters are working to make sure her younger brother isn’t deported too.

Garcia, 30, and her brother Daniel, 18, arrived in Toronto three years ago.

Brenda Garcia said she was threatened in Mexico for being a lesbian. She said her partner was shot to death for being gay.

But the Garcias’ refugee application was denied. The judge did not believe Brenda Garcia’s claims of persecution.

Daniel Garcia is being held at a Toronto immigration detention centre.

In a telephone interview with CBC News, he said he has been warned that people in Mexico City have already made death threats against his sister. He fears he’ll also be killed if he’s deported.

“The people in the neighbourhood know that my sister is coming back. They tell to my mother ‘We know that your daughter is coming and this time we want to kill her. This time we’re not going give her some choice, this time she will be dead,'” he said.

Immigration advocates are calling on Ottawa to allow the teen to stay in Canada.

The Parkdale Collegiate student was taken into custody after police arrested him Thursday night, according to friends.

Garcia could be deported to Mexico as soon as next week, they said.

“It makes me so sad because if he gets deported, I never will see him again,” his girlfriend, Martina K., told the Canadian Press on Saturday.

She asked not to be identified by her full name since her immigration status is also not certain.

Dozens of students, teachers and community workers set aside their own Christmas plans on Saturday to defend Garcia, described as an exemplary student and a caring friend.

They gathered in a church to call on the federal government to allow Garcia to stay in Canada and have the courts review his case.

Many said they worry Garcia will be quietly deported during the holidays, before he has a chance to appeal the decision.

The government “has a nasty habit of enforcing deportation orders around Christmas time when they know people can’t access the courts,” said Karin Baqi, a lawyer who has spoken to Garcia since his arrest.

“We want to make sure he doesn’t get removed in the cover of the night,” she said.

One of Garcia’s teachers, Hillel Heinstein, said the teen is particularly vulnerable because he hasn’t been able to get proper legal assistance.

Heinstein said Garcia’s deportation would be “a tremendous blow” to the school and to the community.

Baqi said the teen’s pre-removal risk assessment was filled out incorrectly after his previous lawyer died.

“He’s obviously very afraid of what could happen if he goes back to Mexico,” Baqi said.

With files from The Canadian Press

Comments are closed.