STATEMENT (ENGLISH) November 13, 2021
On Refugees, Deportations, and Sanctuaries
If the Government of Canada had its way, the family of Georgina Flores, Manuel Rodriguez, and their son Manolo would be deported back to Mexico to face a death sentence at the most or a life of hiding from the drug cartels at the least. The Flores-Rodriguez family fled Mexico in 2018 because of death threats from the drug cartels, sought asylum in Canada as refugees, and hoped for a new life of peace.
The refugee claim of the Flores-Rodriguez family was denied, and removal orders effective November 8th were issued by the Canadian government. The Plymouth Trinity United Church offered church sanctuary to the family and invoked the “ancient and canonical practice of offering sanctuary to people who are under threat or persecution.” The deportation order comes at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic is still a major health crisis. In 2020, the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Canada’s removals registered 12, 122 people (875 people more than 2019) registered the highest number since 2015, according to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) data as reported in the press. With these numbers, Canada has been deporting people from Canada as if there was no pandemic!
From a human rights concern and a public health concern, Canada must suspend its deportations in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a country publicly committed to human rights, Canada should review its refugee protection to victims to include refugees fleeing persecution from drug cartels and escalating drug wars.
Migrante Canada stands in solidarity with the Flores-Rodriguez family who has been forcibly displaced, like so many thousands of displaced people, by the drug wars in Mexico which has targeted civilians and villages. There are thousands of people from the Global South displaced by environmental disasters, climate change, militarization, and civil wars.
Migrante Canada stands in solidarity with the courageous action of the Plymouth Trinity United Church in offering safe harbour for the Flores-Rodriguez family.
In solidarity, Danilo de Leon, Chairperson Stef Martin, Secretary-General Migrante Canada