Mexican woman deported, brother may be next
National Post Staff December 27, 2010 – 8:54 pm
TORONTO — A Mexican woman who says she was being persecuted for being gay, was deported from Canada Monday.
And concerned citizens in Toronto are worried the woman’s younger brother may be next.
Brenda Garcia, who media reports said was 30, was returned to Mexico City on Monday morning, leaving friends and teachers of 18-year-old Daniel calling for his release.
Two days before Christmas, Daniel Garcia learned an immigration warrant had been issued against him. He was detained after being asked for identification in a random police check in the west-end Toronto neighbourhood of Parkdale.
Mr. Garcia arrived in Canada as a minor in 2007 under the guardianship of his older sister. The two applied for refugee status, citing that they faced persecution and possibly death in Mexico, where they said they had already experienced discrimination and violence. When their claims for refugee status were rejected, they filed a pre-removal risk assessment.
“A PRRA is essentially an extension of the refugee claim,” said Karin Baqi, a lawyer who spoke with Garcia but has not been retained by him. “Once your refugee claim has been refused, you can’t be removed until the PRRA has been done; it is meant to assess the risks you face in your country.”
But in the time between filing his initial refugee claim and it being rejected, Mr. Garcia’s lawyer died. Following that, he was directed to a library, where employees were to assist him in filling out the PRRA.
Ms. Baqi says Mr. Garcia’s PRRA was filled out incorrectly.
Mr. Garcia’s fate remains uncertain. Ms. Baqi said she was concerned because the process for deporting people from Canada tends to move quickly, especially at this time of year when lawyers and other professionals are on holiday and can be difficult to contact.
Ms. Baqi said the young man is afraid. “I mean, he’s just 18-years-old,” she said. “He’s surprised and he’s also clueless. What I’m hoping is that there’s enough support from the community to make sure that he’s safe.”
Speaking to Global News from a Toronto detention centre, Mr. Garcia said his attackers recently threatened his mother.
A spokesman from the immigration minister’s office couldn’t discuss the details of his case without Mr. Garcia’s consent but told Global News his refugee claim against Mexico was unfounded.
A statement also said “each asylum seeker is given multiple avenues to make their case”and that “nobody is deported from Canada until all those appeals are exhausted.”
With files from Global News