While many will gather in Fort Langley’s historic fort to become citizens of this country in a ceremony on Canada Day, Langley’s Jose Figueroa will remain in sanctuary at his church.
It still remains a dream of Figueroa’s to become a Canadian citizen, but for now, he is looking to his next judicial review on Wednesday, July 2, to clear his name off any terrorist list.
On that day, Figueroa is expecting to get a certificate indicating that he is not on any terrorist list because the group he was associated with, the FMLN, is not on any federal list.
That has already been agreed upon verbally by both Immigration Canada and the courts, but the certificate would provide reassurance and help solidify any doubts, he said.
“This certificate we are looking for will constitute proof that I don’t pose a security risk and also would help to clear up my name against the allegation of membership with a terrorist organization,” said Figueroa.
He can’t attend the hearing, but can listen in via telephone conference.
In the meantime, a decision about whether Figueroa’s case should be given another look by Immigration hasn’t been decided yet.
Figueroa’s lawyer Peter Edelmann argued that Karine Roy-Tremblay, Immigration Canada’s director of case determination, denied Figueora permission to stay in Canada but didn’t have access to his entire file, which included two previous officers’ recommendations that he stay in the country.
His lawyer made the case that Roy-Tremblay appeared to have ‘cut and paste’ her decision from another file. Evidence to that is she rejected Figueroa’s request for temporary status, even though he never made such a request.
She also said it was perfectly reasonable for Figueroa to be able to parent his children from El Salvador, saying that his wife could bring the kids there for visits and he could use Skype for the remainder of visits.
Roy-Tremblay felt Jose Jr. would “continue to progress and succeed” just fine if his father was deported. Jose Jr. has autism and letters from his support workers say he has made tremendous progress but a lot of that can be attributed to his father working with him every night.
His lawyer called Roy-Tremblay’s ideas of Skype parenting ‘absurd.’
Federal Judge Richard Mosley at times struggled to understand the deciding officer’s decision to deny Figueroa an exemption.
“Is there any evidence the FMLN is a listed terror organization?” asked Mosley.The lawyer for the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration, Caroline Christiaens, replied ‘no.’
As stated in Federal Court, there appears to be no logical reason for Canada to deport Figueroa yet the Minister of Immigration’s lawyer is trying to ensure that he does go back to El Salvador.
The Minister of Public Safety, Steven Blaney, could grant a relief order to stay in Canada. But despite verbal support in Parliament from Langley MP Mark Warawa, all the various ministers over the years have chosen not to use their discretionary powers.
Warawa himself can’t explain or understand why his government would deport Figueroa, based on his past affiliation with a group which is now the democratically elected government of El Salvador.
It’s unknown what the costs are for CBSA officers to attend and watch the Walnut Grove church where Figueroa has lived for seven months.
He said he sees their vehicles nearly everyday.