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Jose Figueroa can’t attend his own judicial review hearing

Jose Figueroa stands with a cutout of his daughter. He has been taking refuge in a Walnut Grove church since last fall. - Langley Times file photo
Jose Figueroa stands with a cutout of his daughter. He has been taking refuge in a Walnut Grove church since last fall.
— image credit: Langley Times file photo

When Immigration Canada ruled Jose Figueroa deported back to El Salvador, the woman who wrote up the decision said he could parent via Skype.

Now, the Langley father of three is being told that Skype is good enough for parenting but not an option for him to be able to participate in his own judicial review hearing in the Federal Courts in Vancouver May 26.

Figueroa was forced to seek sanctuary in October 2013 at the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church after the Canadian Border Services Agency put out a warrant for his arrest.

“I do have the right to see, hear what it is said in the hearing;  but I can’t leave the church without being placed into a detention centre.  For this reason we have started a petition to the Federal Court to allow me [to] participate [in] my own judicial review via video conference from Walnut Grove Lutheran Church,” said Figueroa.

A petition to the courts has been created online and Figueroa and his many supporters are hoping the community will sign it. More than 185 people have signed it so far, but Figueroa is hoping for more.

“Signing the petition means a lot because it is people showing their democratic right to have their voices heard,” said Figueroa.

It has been seven months since Figueroa sought sanctuary, not leaving the church once since then.

It has been four years since his deportation order was issued. Wednesday marked 17 years since Figueroa and his wife legally entered Canada. All three of their children were born here.

“It has been stressful for all of us. There are so many frustrations. But I took sanctuary because it was my only option to see my family,” he said.

Figueroa has been ordered deported because of his support as a university student of the FMLN during the civil war in El Salvador. The FMLN are now the democratically-elected government in El Salvador.

Despite the Federal Court granting Figueroa a temporary stay of the deportation on Oct. 29, 2013, the CBSA surveillance has continued and intensified, he said.

As many as 14 clergy from various churches are planning to attend the judicial proceedings in support of Figueroa.

To sign the petition go to http://www.change.org/es/peticiones/the-federal-court-of-canada-allow-jose-figueroa-to-participate-in-his-own-judicial-review-via-video-conference-from-walnut-grove-lutheran-church

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