MONTREAL — Despite solidarity picket lines and other actions here, in Toronto and other Canadian cities April 13, Canadian Border Services Agency immigration cops deported 42-year-old Lucy Francineth Granados back to Guatemala. She had been living and working without papers in Canada for nine years. The expulsion came a day after a federal court rejected her motion for a stay of deportation until her request for permanent resident status on humanitarian grounds had been heard.
“Lucy is not a criminal,” Anabelle Segovia, one of the organizers of a number of protests at subway entrances and other public places April 10, told Communist League members who joined the picket line at the Beaubien subway stop here. “The government says she has to go back to Guatemala and then apply to come back. If that happens she won’t come back.”
“Stop the deportation of Lucy,” 15 supporters organized by Solidarity Without Borders chanted as they handed out information on her fight to stay in Canada to those entering and leaving the subway. They chalked slogans on the sidewalk, including Solidarity with Lucy” and “Amnesty for all immigrants without papers.”
Threatened by criminal gangs that are rife in Guatemala, Granados left her three children with relatives and made her way to Canada in 2009. Ottawa rejected her application for refugee status and Granados was ordered deported in 2012. She continued to work, the sole source of income for her children. She became a member of the Non-Status Women’s Collective and the Temporary Workers Association.
Last September Granados applied for permanent resident status on humanitarian grounds. In January Canadian Border Services Agency officials said she would have to present herself for arrest before her file could be processed, a demand her lawyer said was illegal. On March 20 agency cops seized her at her apartment, injuring one of her arms and neck. She was shackled and thrown in a cell in the notorious Laval Immigration Detention Centre north of Montreal to await deportation set for March 27.
Because her deteriorating health necessitated hospitalizations, the deportation date was postponed until April 13. Canadian Border Services Agency lawyers opposed her request for a federal court hearing on her request for a stay.
Granados has won considerable support. Over 10,000 people have signed a petition in support of her getting permanent residence. Professors and students at several universities have signed open letters calling for her rights to be respected. The president of the Quebec Federation of Women has spoken out in her defense.
Granados’ case is far from unique. Last November the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported there were 15,000 immigrants on the border agency’s deportation list. According to Radio-Canada, there are between 200,000 and 500,000 immigrants without papers in Canada.
To support Granados, send protest letters to Minister of Immigration Ahmed Hussen at Ahmed.Hussen@parl.gc.ca.