Jose Figueroa

Jose Figueroa

Rally for Jose to be held on Saturday

Langley man has taken sanctuary in Walnut Grove church to avoid deportation

The community is coming together to rally for Jose Figueroa on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 1 p.m. in the Walnut Grove Lutheran Church parking lot.

Figueroa took sanctuary at his church nearly two weeks ago after he learned he was going to be deported.

“My children came and stayed with me last night.  I don’t know how we managed to fit Esmeralda, Ruby and myself in a tiny bed,” said Figueroa about Thanksgiving Monday.

At one point, there was a large banging on the front door and his children thought it was the Canadian Border Services Agency coming to get him.

“It was a neighbour who brought us some turkey,” he said.

Figueroa believes CBSA has been watching him nearly every day.

The We Are Jose group organized the “Rally for Family Unity” and already 55 people on Facebook said they will be there.

People will be holding signs in hopes to put pressure on the Canadian government to reverse the decision they have made to deport him.

Both the minister of public safety and the minister of immigration have discretion to reverse the decision, but so far have not chosen to.

Langley MP Mark Warawa has come out publicly to say Figueroa should be allowed to stay and that he is the very kind of citizen Canadians want.

Warawa also pointed out under the same immigration policies, Nelson Mandela would also not be allowed to be in this country either.

Figueroa came to Canada legally 16 years ago and has been trying to get permanent residency ever since. He came with his wife and the couple now have three children, who were born and raised here.

He has worked and provided for his family the whole time.

The decision to have him deported is because he was affiliated with the Farabundo Marti National Liberation (FMLN) as a university student in El Salvador.

While he never played an active role, especially not violently, the immigration department has deemed him a “threat to Canadian security.”

The FMLN, who fought against the violent dictatorship in a civil war, disarmed and became the democratically-elected government of El Salvador.

The party remains the government today. Figuero supporters will also picket outside the Canadian Border Service Agency’s Vancouver office on Friday.