Man granted residency after years in Langley church wants name cleared

Jose Figueroa seeks to have a report rescinded that said he was inadmissible to Canada.

VICTORIA — A man who spent more than two years in a Langley church to avoid deportation from Canada on alleged terrorism links is asking the Federal Court to clear his name.

Jose Figueroa will be in court Wednesday in Vancouver asking it to rescind an eight-year-old report that said he was inadmissible to Canada because of his past membership in a political organization.

Before he fled to Canada in 1997 to escape death threats, Figueroa was a volunteer for the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in El Salvador. The group brought in a new era of democracy when it was voted into power in 2009.

He also said Monday he wants a federal deportation order quashed.

Immigration Minister John McCallum granted a ministerial exemption last December that allowed Figueroa to leave the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church in Langley.

RELATED: Jose Figueroa finally goes home

RELATED: ‘We are Jose’ chanted as Figueroa free

“If there is justice in this country, the Canada Border Services Agency should be found accountable for the harm that they have done to me, to my family,” Figueroa told a news conference outside the University of Victoria’s law faculty building on Monday.

Figueroa, who is studying law at the university, said he is now a permanent resident of Canada but wants the border services agency to erase the report on his inadmissibility and deportation orders.

“My application for permanent residency was finalized on May 12, 2016,” he said. “When you are looking at the time span when the application was approved in principle in 2004, it took 14 years for immigration to actually finalize that application. That is unreasonable. My name has been tarnished by an allegation that is unfounded.”

The border services agency could not immediately be reached for comment.

Figueroa said he has never been a terrorist but was a member of a university student union in El Salvador that supported the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front, which opposed the country’s right-wing dictatorship in the 1980s.

“I am not a terrorist,” he said. “The FLMN is not a terrorist organization. At this point we are looking for the CBSA, the Canadian government to acknowledge my rights have been violated.”

Figueroa arrived in Canada in 1997 with his wife and claimed refugee status, but 13 years and three Canadian-born children later, the federal government sought his deportation.

He said the immigration battle and especially his time at the church took its toll on him and his family. He said his wife lost one of her kidneys the year before he sought sanctuary at the church, and he missed his son’s graduation ceremony while he was staying there.

His petition to the federal court for a judicial review doesn’t mention a damage award.

Figueroa, who is representing himself in court, said he isn’t concerned about financial compensation.

“I’m for justice,” he said.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Jose Figueroa’s wife lost her kidney while he was living at the church.

Just Posted

Milner actor taps into inner jokester for Langley Players comedy

The curtain goes up on The Foreigners next Thursday at the Langley Playhouse.

ON GARDENING IN LANGLEY: Ice storm caused damage to many trees

Advance columnist Pam Erikson suggestions tips for minimize winter damage and prepping for spring.

VIDEO: Double-decker bus pilot in Langley gets rave reviews

The ceiling is a little low, but other than that, everyone seems to be a fan

Township of Langley ranked No 1 ‘least tempting’ for millennials to live

Out of 85 cities, Township ranked lowest because of crime, affordability, says Point2homes.com

Trial begins for man charged with 2010 murder of Mandy Johnson

Langley single mom was fatally shot while in vehicle in Abbotsford

Solitary-confinement veto a chance to address mental health: advocate

B.C. Supreme Court made the landmark ruling Wednesday

Winter storm coming to B.C. this weekend

The bets are on as to how much snow the province will actually get in the coming days

B.C. civil rights group files complaint about RCMP arrest of man who later died

Dale Culver, a 35-year-old Indigenous man was arrested in Prince George last July

Lawyer says former B.C. government aide ‘barely guilty’ in ethnic vote scandal

Brian Bonney pleaded guilty to a breach of trust charge

Quite a few tears as homemade quilts distributed to residents of Ashcroft Reserve, Boston Flats affected by last summer’s fire

Quilters in B.C. and Alberta worked through the summer and fall to create more than 100 quilts.

Teachers’ union votes for non-confidence in school board

Lack of action after embattled trustee’s comments created unsafe workplace, Chilliwack teachers claim

Island Health: No need for alarm in wake of Victoria needle-prick incidents

Three incidents in a week prompts meeting between health authority, city service providers

B.C. coast loggers celebrate history, hope for improvement

Truck Loggers Association awaits B.C. NDP government’s new direction

Global Affairs aware of report of two Canadians kidnapped in Nigeria

The foreigners were heading south from Kafanchan to Abuja when they were ambushed around Kagarko

Most Read