Blog Archive

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Canada Set to Deport Mexican Mom and Her Canadian Kids

Pacific Free Press
September 13, 2011

Solidarity Across Borders denounces the imminent deportation of a Mexican mother and her two Canadian children by Solidarity Across Borders.

Solidarity Across Borders denounces the imminent decision by the Canadian authorities to procede with the deportation of Paola Ortiz and her two Canadian children of two and four years old.

Paola Ortiz arrived in Montreal five years ago after fleeing a situation of sexual and conjugal violence in Mexico, her country or origin. There she was a victim of violent physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by her then-husband, a federal police officer. She has been diagnosed by various specialists with post-traumatic stress and depression. Mrs. Ortiz's children also have health challenges. Her daughter of four years suffers from significant hearing problems, while her son of two years has recently been diagnosed with autism. Both children are receiving treatment and support from various specialists.

In 2006 upon her arrival in Canada, Paola Ortiz requested refugee status from Canada. The Immigration and Refugee Board refused her application one year later, under the pretext that the Mexican state provided adequate protection to women survivors of conjugal violence. However, many sources from the field uncover the situation of violence for women in Mexico, and the almost absolute impunity accorded to its perpetrators.

During the summer of 2011, Ms. Ortiz was detained for one week at the Immigration Detention Centre in Laval, being consequently separated from her children. She is presently in limbo, awaiting a deportation date that could be issued and executed as early as this week. Her lawyer has submitted a request for a stay of her deportation, in her interests and those of her children.

« By constantly threatening Paola and her family with deportation, the Canadian government is acting as an accomplice to the sexist violence that Paola has endured », explains Rosalind Wong, a member of the Solidarity Across Borders network that is supporting Ms. Ortiz. « Moreover, the government is ignoring not only its human rights obligations and its obligations towards refugees, but also its responsibilities towards children born on Canadian territory, children who have the right to live in conditions that are fair, safe, and with dignity. This means to remain in Canada, the country of their birth, with their mother. »

For the other members of Solidarity Across Borders working with Ms. Ortiz, there is no question that Ms. Ortiz and her children will not receive the specialized services that they need should they be deported to Mexico.

« The treatment of Ms. Ortiz in recent weeks displays a worrying tendency on the part of Canada's immigration system, » adds Rosalind Wong. « Mainly, a flat-out denial of the situation of violence and its impunity in countries like Mexico, and the increasing use of repressive tools like detention and precipitated deportation, deliberately overlooking any consideration of the rights of the children or the psychological precarity of women who have experienced trauma and violence.»

In 2009, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney imposed a mandatory visa on all visitors from Mexico, alleging that too many requests for asylum seekers originating from Mexico were false. This gesture is one of several measures recently put into place by the Canadian government that refugee advocates have decried as simply dividing and criminalizing immigrant and refugee communities, in an aim to restrict their access to Canadian territory.

Solidarity Across Borders joins Ms. Ortiz, her family, and many friends and community members of Montreal and Point St. Charles neighborhood, to demand that Ms. Ortiz be given permanent status in Canada.

Soldarity Across Borders is a network of support and struggle for the dignity and justice of migrants without status. Its principal demands are the end of deportations and detentions, the regularization of all non-status people and the abolition of the double punishment.

For more information:

Stewart Istvanffy, legal representative of Paola Ortiz — 514-876-9776
Rosalind Wong, Solidarity Across Borders — 514-759-8346]