A recent Federal Court ruling spells potential good news for two men who face deportation from Canada as “terrorists” because they once supported a rebel organization that is now the democratically elected government of their former land.
“I think it’s very helpful,” said Lorne Waldman, a Toronto immigration lawyer representing Oscar Vigil, the former executive director of the Canadian Hispanic Congress. Vigil has been declared “inadmissible” to Canada over his ties to the leftist Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front that now governs El Salvador.
Waldman was referring to a ruling handed down this month by Federal Court Justice Richard G. Mosley, ordering the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration to take a second look at a case involving another Salvadoran man who has also been deemed inadmissible to Canada, for reasons very similar to those affecting Vigil.
Mosley aimed some harsh language at Karine Roy-Tremblay, a senior bureaucrat in the Immigration Ministry, who in March 2013 denied an application by Jose Luis Figueroa of Vancouver to be allowed to remain in Canada on compassionate grounds.
In his ruling, Mosley used words such as “unreasonable,” “facile,” and “simply not good enough” to describe Roy-Tremblay’s decision. He also rejected her description of the FMLN as a terrorist organization and dismissed her conclusion that Figueroa poses a security risk to Canadians.
“They are going to break my family.” Oscar Vigil has built a reputation as a leader of the Hispanic community in Canada. Earlier this year, his wife and grown children became Canadian citizens. But, according to the Canadian government, because of his cooperation with revolutionary forces during El Salvador’s lengthy civil war, Mr. Vigil could be deported very soon.
It’s worth noting that El Salvador’s former revolutionaries now make up the country’s duly-elected government — and maintain full diplomatic relations with Canada.
Carol Off spoke with Oscar Vigil and his lawyer, Stephen Foster, in As It Happens, the long-running interview show on CBC Radio One.
A leading member of Canada’s Hispanic community faces deportation and the probable breakup of his family because he once acted as an informal liaison arranging contacts between armed rebels and foreign journalists covering the civil war that convulsed El Salvador during the 1980s.
“I think this is extremely unfair,” said Vilma Filici, former president of the Canadian Hispanic Congress, referring to the impending deportation of reporter and community activist Oscar Vigil, 48.
“Oscar is an incredible human being. He has done an incredible amount of work on behalf of the Latin community. He is not a danger to the public. He’s an asset to Canada.”
Vigil, who has been in Canada for more than a decade, has been ordered to leave as soon as the Salvadoran consulate in Toronto can issue him a passport. He has no Canadian travel documents.
Following a series of unsuccessful appeals, the final decision to deport Vigil was taken by Citizenship and Immigration Canada this past February, even though it will almost certainly result in the breakup of his family.
Under that sharp headline, Matthew Behrens publishes today at rabble.ca a very interesting and well documented article about the situation of Oscar Vigil and the double standard that is some times present in Canada’s immigration system.
You can read the whole article here. These are some excerpts:
[…] Against this backdrop, two Salvadorans who refused to participate in the U.S.- and Canadian-backed terrorist regime that ruled the country during the 1980s — and who, like thousands of their fellow Salvadorans, became associated with the FMLN — are now facing a Kafkaesque immigration nightmare. At the same time as Canada recognizes the FMLN government in San Salvador, it is trying to deport long-time Canadian residents Oscar Vigil of Toronto and Jose Figueroa of Langley, B.C., because of their former membership in the FMLN, claiming it is an organization “that there are reasonable grounds to believe engages, has engaged or will engage in acts” that include “espionage,” “terrorism,” and “subversion by force of any government.” […]