Jose Figueroa will be able to spend Christmas with his family without the worry of being forcibly deported, after a court ruling on Tuesday stayed his deportation order until January.
Figueroa’s deportation order has been stayed until Jan. 15, 2014, when there is a scheduled judicial review hearing for Figueroa, with a motion asking that he be allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian or compassionate grounds.
Figueroa got the news of the court decision while in sanctuary in his Walnut Grove church, where he has spent the last three weeks avoiding arrest and deportation back to El Salvador.
His lawyer Peter Edelmann was in federal court in Vancouver pleading Figueroa’s motion to stay the deportation order.
“I am a little bit happy but there is still a lot to do,” said Figueroa.
“At this point I can’t be deported so that is good.
“But the CBSA (Canadian Border Service Agency) still has an arrest warrant out for me.”
That means Figueroa will have to remain in sanctuary.
“If I try to go home they could arrest me and put me in a detention centre.
“It is so frustrating. I have done nothing wrong,” he said.
On the same day his deportation order was stayed, rallies of support for Figueroa were held around the country.
Rallies took place in Halifax, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and at the Canadian Embassy in El Salvador.
More than 100 people showed up to a rally outside the Walnut Grove church on Oct. 12 and many rallies have taken place outside the CBSA offices in Vancouver and in Ottawa.
Immigration Canada ruled that it would deport Figueroa based on his past affiliation as a student in El Salvador with the left-wing Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (FMLN) during the civil war.
The FMLN is now the democratically elected government of El Salvador.
“Under these same immigration policies, Nelson Mandela would not be accepted into our country either,” said Langley MP Mark Warawa in previous interviews.
Warawa said Figueroa poses no risk to Canadians and is a benefit to society, working all these years to provide for his family.
If Figueroa is deported, his wife, who has been granted permanent residency status, will have to raise their three young children by herself.
The Figueroas came to Canada legally 16 years ago and have been trying to stay ever since.
The We Are Jose support group spans countries, supported by celebrities and many politicians.