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
Men: We were attacked for being gay
At least 2nd attack this year on 4th Street
Updated: Tuesday, 28 Dec 2010, 8:27 AM CST
Published : Monday, 27 Dec 2010, 9:03 PM CST
AUSTIN (KXAN) – Bobby Beltran and Christopher Ortega are still in shock about what happened to them early Sunday morning.
“This happened on 4th Street, right in the middle of everything, on Christmas night,” Beltran said.
The two were wrapping up Christmas celebrations at Rain , a gay bar. Around closing time, they left and parted ways on the corner 4th and Lavaca with a hug.
“Shortly thereafter, a car drove by,” Beltran said.
Inside the car, according to both Beltran and Ortega, were five men who started yelling homophobic slurs.
“After that, I said, ‘Get out of here. That stuff is not welcome out here in Austin,’ ” Beltran said.
What happened next, the two did not expect. The five men got out of the car and for the next 5 to 10 minutes, the men took turns kicking and punching the both of them.
During the beating, both Ortega and Beltran say the men continued yelling homophobic slurs.
“You could tell it was almost coordinated,” said Ortega.
The two say the only thing they were thinking was, “Where are the cops?”
And, “Stay alive. Keep your face protected. Stay alive, survive,” Beltran said.
The attack stopped after a friend yelled the cops were coming. When they did show up, they didn’t have much to say, according to the two men.
“The response was, ‘Sorry guys. We’ll give you a report number. We’ll never catch these guys,’ ” Ortega said.
This is at least the second time this year two gay men have been beat up after leaving a gay bar on 4th Street. The first beating happened in February just down the street near City Hall. So far, no arrests have been made.
“I’m going to keep on pursuing this because I want justice. I want to know that this is not going to happen again to anybody,” Beltran said.
Statistically speaking, if caught, the attackers probably won’t face hate crime charges.
According to statistics from the Texas Department of Public Safety, since Texas enacted its hate crime law back in 2001, more than 2,500 hate crimes offenses have been reported. Of those, only 11 have been prosecuted.
This legislative session the Texas House will vote on a bill that will study the hate crime law in Texas to determine why it’s rarely used. Last month, KXAN Austin News took a closer look at that bill. Click here to read the story.