A family that fled violence in Mexico to New Westminster is now facing deportation from Canada and hundreds of people are asking the federal government to allow the family to stay.
Over 900 people have written letters to federal Immigration Minister Sean Fraser to intervene and halt the removal of Leticia Bazan Porto, her sons Andres Obed Liberato Bazan and Isaias Alain Liberato Bazan, her daughter-in-law Claudia Alejandra Zamorano Gomez and her nine-year-old granddaughter.
The family arrived in Canada four years ago after fleeing death threats from organized crime in Mexico. Shortly after their arrival, the family began volunteering and working in B.C. while waiting for their refugee claims to be processed.
The BC Hospital Employees Union released a statement in support of keeping the family in the country as Gomez has been working as a hospital housekeeper in the COVID ward at New Westminster’s Royal Columbia Hospital throughout the pandemic.
“I have been working cleaning COVID-19 treatment rooms because nobody wants such a dangerous job,” Gomez said. “We hear constantly at work that there is a labour shortage, but the government is seeking to remove me to a country where I’m afraid for my family’s life. How does that make sense?”
Letty has been volunteering at the South Granville Seniors Centre, Carnegie Community Centre and Mission Possible — a Downtown Eastside economic development agency that helps individuals in poverty find sustainable livelihoods. She has been described as a pillar of Watari Counselling and Support Services Society’s food security program contributing to the preparation of 1000 meals and the delivery of 100 food hampers per week.
“Quite simply, without Letty’s hard work, hundreds of people in our community would not have been able to eat during the pandemic,” said Ingrid Mendez, executive director at Watari Counselling and Support Services Society.
Andres and Isaias have both been working in construction and their employer, CWL Contracting, supports their ongoing application for permanent residence on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
The Canada Border Services Agency declined to comment on this specific case, citing privacy concerns. However, the CBSA said it has a “legal obligation” to remove all foreign nationals and permanent residents that are inadmissible to Canada.
“There are multiple steps built into the process to ensure procedural fairness and the CBSA only actions a removal order once all legal avenues of recourse have been exhausted,” the CBSA said in a statement to Black Press Media.
“Once individuals have exhausted all legal avenues of appeal and due process, they are expected to respect our laws and leave Canada or be removed.”