By Oakland Ross, Toronto Star. Published on April 27, 2014
One elderly woman’s only political act was to stitch together uniforms for armed rebels in Ethiopia, then ruled by a murderous tyrant named Haile Mariam Mengistu.
Another man, now in his 60s, once donated the equivalent of $50 to the militant opposition in his country.
Yet another man used to act as an informal contact for foreign journalists who were seeking interviews with anti-government guerrillas in El Salvador.
None of these three people ever engaged in political violence themselves, and yet all of them – along with dozens and perhaps hundreds of others – face the threat of deportation on the grounds that they pose a security risk to the people of Canada, under a catch-all provision of this country’s immigration law that many lawyers decry as unfair and excessive.
“It’s an extreme overreaction,” says Ontario legal-aid lawyer Andrew Brouwer. “Their stories are so compelling. There’s not a single allegation of ever being involved in any kind of violence, much less a terrorist act.”
We want to thank you all of for downloading and signing our mail petition to help Oscar Vigil to stay with his family in Canada. You still can do it here. But we need more signatures, and the Internet can help us. It is faster and easier. So we posted an online petition that you can also sign and share. Please visit the following link if you are interested:
This is the text of the petition:
Oscar Vigil is a journalist from El Salvador who fled death threats and sought refugee status in Canada in 2001. His wife and three children have since been accepted by Canada’s immigrations services and have become Canadian citizens, but Vigil has been denied.
“The role of the Minister for Immigration should be to protect families, not break them up,” Andrew Cash asked in the House of Commons, “The Minister has the authority to reverse this deportation and keep this family together, will he do so?”
Panel Discussion during the Launching of the Vigil Campaign act.
By Rebeka Lauks
On March 24th, 2014, Francisco Rico-Martinez of the FCJ Refugee Centre and Michelle Millard of York University welcomed over 100 individuals to the official launch of the Vigil Campaign at the Church of the Holy Trinity. The Vigil Campaign has come together in support of Oscar Vigil, a loving husband, caring father, and valued member of the community.
Oscar and his family came to Canada in 2001 seeking refugee protection. While his wife and three children have all now received Canadian citizenship, Oscar has spent the last 13 years in legal status limbo and is now being threatened with deportation back to El Salvador. It is for this reason that the Vigil Campaign is presently mobilizing to increase public support for his case and to pressure the Minister to grant relief to Oscar so that he may remain in Canada with his family.
The Vigil Campaign is officially taking off today!
Come and learn about the problem of national security and “inadmissibility” in the refugee context.
- The place: The Holy Trinity Church, 10 Trinity Square, Toronto (West of the Eaton Centre).
- The time: 6:00 pm
Thank you everyone for your beautiful words of solidarity and support.
Looking forward to seeing all of you.
Here it is the program for today: