Supporters of Jose Figueroa are holding a “Solidarity Vigil” at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 16. It will commemorate the fourth anniversary of the ‘We Are Jose’ campaign.
The campaign — launched four years ago across Canada and some parts of the U.S. — is in support for Figueroa, who was ordered deported back to El Salvador and to leave his wife and three Canadian-born children in Canada.
Choosing not to split up the family, he has been living in sanctuary since the Canadian Border Service Agency put a warrant out for his arrest and deportation in October, 2013.
This warrant contradicts a federal court judgment that has stayed his deportation until a judgment is reached on whether he can stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds. But the CBSA has chosen to ignore that order and continue monitoring Figueroa at the church, waiting to arrest him should he step out of the building.
Supporters of the Langley husband and father will gather for a potluck and coffee at 4:30 p.m. to share ideas on how to further advance his cause with the federal government. He would like to end his 15 months living in sanctuary. He has spent two Christmases at the church.
Langley MP Mark Warawa is in full support of Figueroa and hopes “common sense” would prevail in his government. But his pleas to the minister in charge of overseeing Figueroa’s stay in Canada have fallen on deaf ears.
It was last summer that a federal court ordered a new review of Figueroa’s file. Figueroa has no idea when he will hear his fate from Immigration Canada’s new review.
In December, he was joined in sanctuary by an Abbotsford mother and her two sons, after they had been ordered deported in late November.
Mariann Juhasz and her sons Patrik, 17, and Tamas, 12, arrived at the church on Nov. 30 after spending 18 days in hiding, fearing they would be arrested by CBSA officers and deported to their home country of Hungary.
Her youngest son, Tamas, said he was abused by his father, and he fears returning to Hungary.