Deportee's autistic son pleads for gov't intervention
Jon Woodward, ctvbc.ca
Published Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:28PM PDT
The teenage autistic son of an El Salvadoran who has been ordered deported is begging Canada's minister of public safety to let his father stay.
Jose Ivan Figueroa wrote Public Safety Minister Vic Toews a letter saying he felt safe in Canada where he could get treatment for his condition -- before his father's deportation order made him feel "upset and threatened" and worried about the future.
"If you accept the exemption to stay, I would feel safe again," he wrote. "You are the one who makes the decision to grant the exemption, and I hope you make the right choice," he said.
Figueroa also told the minister he was worried that special autism education he receives wouldn't be available in El Salvador. Without it, his development could be seriously impaired.
"I fear I could lose my special education," he said.
Jose Ivan's parents arrived in Canada in 1997 and claimed refugee status. Their applications were processed for 13 years before his father, Jose Figueroa, was ordered deported in December. Jose Ivan and his two siblings are Canadian citizens.
Figueroa was ordered deported because of his political activities during university 20 years ago in a leftist group called the FMLN.
Canadian border guards believe that is a terrorist organization, while people celebrating the organization's 30th anniversary in Vancouver Sunday said that couldn't be further from the truth.
Organizers of the event don't understand why the Canadian government can't accept that the FMLN is now the democratically elected government of El Salvador.
Figueroa is out of appeals, though he now has the support of Conservative MP Mark Warawa, who has also written to Toews to try and keep the family in the country.
He has also received support from his church, Walnut Grove Lutheran Church in Langley.