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The only boxing day deal we want is for Daniel to be free

FRIENDS OF DANIEL GARCIA (status4danielgarcia@gmail.com)
Saturday, December 25th, 2010.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

“THE ONLY BOXING DAY DEAL WE WANT IS FOR DANIEL TO BE FREE”

High school students to rally in front of the Eaton Centre on Boxing Day to demand a stay on deportation of their classmate to a life-threatening situation in Mexico, and that the Immigration Minister grant him permanent status.

Where: Yonge and Dundas, in front of the H&M store at the Eaton Centre
When: Sunday, December 26th from 10am to 12 noon
Who: Students from Parkdale Collegiate Institute, teachers, concerned community members

While thousands of people flock to the Eaton’s Centre tomorrow for Boxing Day deals, students, teachers, and community members will be gathered in front of the iconic mall asking for freedom and status for Daniel Garcia, a high school student in Parkdale who was arbitrarily ID'd by Toronto police, arrested without provocation, and handed over to Immigration Enforcement late Thursday evening.

Daniel filed a refugee claim in 2007 seeking protection after his family faced threats to their lives in Mexico due to severely violent homophobia towards Daniel’s sister, and by extension to his whole family. Tragically, his sister's partner was murdered in Mexico without police intervention. Daniel was also attacked, and forced to leave Mexico to save his life. Daniel is a student at Parkdale Collegiate Institute high school, a member of the student co-op program, and a volunteer and parishioner at St. Casimir's Church.

More than fifty students, teachers, parishioners, and concerned community members gathered together in St. Casimir’s Church on Christmas Day. A follow up action is being organized on Boxing Day.

"There is an immense amount of community support for Daniel", says 16 year old Akira Kato-Mckerr, Daniel's classmate and one of the organizers of the Christmas Day meeting. "Deporting people, separating them from their friends and putting them in to risk is unjust, the Immigration Minister must stop this".

"I have personally witnessed the connections that Daniel has made in the school and in the community", adds Hillel Heinstein, Daniel's teacher. "Knowing Daniel, the connections I have witnessed are only the tip of the iceberg. It will be a tremendous blow to Parkdale CI if he is not allowed to stay."

“Daniel's PRRA application was incorrectly filled out after his previous lawyer died”, says lawyer Karin Baqi. “He was the victim of bad advice and was in the middle of rectifying his immigration situation”.

As of the time of his arrest last Thursday, while he was making plans for spending time with family on Christmas Day, Daniel had not received a decision on the application to stay his removal. “I was walking down Parkdale, when the police showed up, demanded to see my ID for no reason, then their system told them that there is an Immigration warrant for me”, says Daniel Garcia, who is presently being held at Rexdale Immigration Holding Centre. “I was so surprised, because I'd been waiting for my decision all this time, I really want to stay in Toronto”.

Upon arrest, the Canadian Border Services Agency claimed that they had mailed Daniel a decision on his file a month ago.

“All I want for Christmas is for Daniel to be free and safe and here with me and his friends”, says 17 year old Martina K., Daniel's girlfriend who heard about Daniel Garcia's detention at 8am on December 24th, and is worried that Daniel's life is under threat in Mexico.

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For more information, contact:
Mohan Mishra (No One Is Illegal - Toronto) 416 270 8947

FB Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Status-for-Daniel-Garcia/151611668222106
Petition: http://www.gopetition.com/petition/41599.html

Media on the Christmas Day Meeting
* http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/students-rally-to-defend-cl...
* http://www.cp24.com/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20101225/101225_student_dep...
* http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/canada/article/728780--toronto-student-f...
* http://ca.news.yahoo.com/toronto-students-rally-defend-classmate-facing-...
* http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=n5494479
* http://oneclick.indiatimes.com/article/02u87Jk23A3gq?q=Toronto
* http://www.cknw.com/News/National/Article.aspx?id=252713