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Deportation Canada: A report-back on the Struggle of the Arellano-Diaz Family

Two weeks ago, the Arellano-Diaz family was deported to Mexico on board Mexicana Airlines flight 881 from Dorval. Three years earlier, the family settled in Montreal, having fled persecution by the policia judicial (or judicial police) in Mexico.

Three months before their deportation, the Arellano-Diaz family was forced underground, their refugee claim refused, and all other legal recourses exhausted - due in part to incompetent legal representation, and despite the fact that members of the family bear marks of violence inflicted by the judicial police on their bodies. This decision was made even as the Immigration and Refugee board (IRB);s own Country Report for Mexico notes the corruption and persistent human rights abuses perpetrated by police forces in Mexico.

A month before the family's deportation, their 19 year old son Emmanuel was arrested while hanging out outside a metro station. The police were looking for a Latino who was alleged to have committed a crime. It was not Emmanuel they were looking for, but because of the practice of racial profile he was deemed guilty until proven innocent. The police checked his identity and discovered that he was living underground, having failed to obey a deportation order. He was quickly transported to the Immigration Prevention Centre in Laval, and deported to Mexico several days later, foreshadowing what would happen to the rest of his family.

One week before the Arellano-Diaz family's deportation, officers of the Canada Border Service Agency (CBSA) came to their home while the parents were at out working the typically exploitative and precarious jobs available to them, which drive the economies of large western cities like Montreal. Despite their parents' absence, the officers still detained the five children (3-year-old Genesis, a Canadian citizen, 6-year-old Samanta, 7-year-old Leonel, 11-year-old Brandon, and 18-year-old Karla) and immediately placed them in detention in Laval, where they stayed until their deportation. Their parents joined them two days later, unable to bear their children being held hostage from them.

The morning of their deportation, a delegation of about 30 of the family‚ friends and allies went to Trudeau airport in Dorval to inform passengers taking flight 881 that a family was being deported on the plane with them.

All the so-called legal recourses had been exhausted by that point. A face-to-face meeting with René Daoust CBSA's Director of Removals for Montreal to demand an administrative stay of the deportation brought only hostile indifference on the part of the Canadian government.

The airport delegation therefore persisted in their action, despite threats of arrest from the Montreal police, the RCMP and airport security, despite complaints from Mexicana Airlines, whose managers even refused to let employees read the flyers that were being distributed. At 8:10 am Wednesday morning, the plane carrying the Arellano-Diaz family took off, only a few minutes behind schedule.

The case of the Arellano-Diaz family represents the reality of thousands of non-status people in Canada, forced to live in fear and insecurity. But it also represents their courage, struggling daily out of necessity for their dignity and the right to choose the life they want for themselves. Deported just days after the No One Is Illegal march to Ottawa, the Arellano-Diaz family perfectly illustrated the reasons behind the call for an immediate, comprehensive and inclusive regularization program for all immigrants and refugees.

If you can offer financial support to the Arellano-Diaz family - in order to facilitate their arrival in Mexico - , please contact sansfrontieres@resist.ca. Your contribution, however small it may be, is much appreciated.