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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Canada Day of Action in support of Jose Figueroa and his family and all refugees impacted by Canada's overly broad terrorism law

  •  Canada wide We Are Jose events January 16, 2013











  • A campaign to reverse the deportation against 15 year, Langley, BC resident, José Figueroa and his family and in support of ALL refugees impacted by Canada's problematic terrorism laws.
    www.wearejose.com
    Events in Vancouver, Langley, BC; Toronto, and Ottawa, and various cities. (See event details and locations below )https://www.facebook.com/events/150354768447191/

    Vancouver event 2pm CIC offices. 300 West Georgia Street, Library square Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories. Meet at Georgia and Hamilton.

    Langley, BC event: 3pm. Meet outside of Jose's Conservative MP Mark Warawa's office #104 4769 222nd Street, Langley
    Supporters will join with Jose and his family to deliver letters and petitions to the MP and then have a vigil outside of the office.

    Toronto: vigil at San Lorenzo Anglican Parish, 2981 Dufferin St. Time: 7PM Link to Toronto event fb page
    https://www.facebook.com/events/472638949450903/

    Ottawa: gathering at UMI cafe, 610 Somerset W, Ottawa,organized by ASCORCAN, Time: 7pm.

    (see this short documentary about the case http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyOZKYRGq8o&feature=player_embedded#! )

    About the campaign:

    Today, We Are Jose. José Figueroa could be any one of us. He has lived happily in his Langley, BC, community, just outside Vancouver, for over 15 years with his wife, Ivannia, and three Canadian children. As they built new lives after fleeing danger in El Salvador, they worked hard and became leading members of their local Lutheran church. Again, their story is ours.

    Then, out of the blue, José and his wife were told they were no longer welcome in Canada and were going to be deported.

    The reason? As a university student more than 20 years ago, José was a member of a peaceful student group associated with the Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation, or FMLN, the broad coalition of opposition forces fighting the ruthless Salvadorean government of the time.

    Indeed, supporting the FMLN was the conscious and courageous choice of countless Salvadoreans trying to free themselves from the tyranny of a Salvadorean state that targeted with impunity priests, nuns, farmers, teachers, workers, professors, students, indeed, anyone opposed to its systematic human rights violations.

    And the international community recognized Salvadoreans’ right to defend themselves against oppression. The FMLN was widely acknowledged as a legitima and representative opposition organization and as a vital element to bringing democracy to El Salvador.

    After signing UN-sponsored peace accords with the Salvadorean government 21 years ago on the historic day of Jan 16, 1992 (peace accords that Canada explicitly supported), the FMLN went on to become a leading political party and won the presidency in 2009. The Canadian government recognized that election as free and fair and even sent a representative, then Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas and now Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, to President Mauricio Funes’ inauguration.

    Still, Canadian border and immigration authorities consider José a threat to Canadian security because of his links to the current democratically elected and internationally recognized governing party of El Salvador, the FMLN. It simply doesn’t make sense. And we simply want our government to realize as much. Jose's case is not isolated and many more refugees and immigrants are at risk of being deported due to this problematic immigration policy.

    José, Ivannia, and their three Canadian children are no threats to Canada. On the contrary, they are exactly the kind of people who have built this great country. This deportation order has devastated their lives.

    Their fate lies in the hands of Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews and the Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney. Supporters of the WE ARE JOSE campaign demand that Minister Toews/Jason Kenney immediately intervene in Mr. Figueroa's case to reverse the deportation order against him and his family. We further demand that he ensure that the FMLN and its many supporters are no longer mischaracterized as threats by Canadian authorities.

    By this, the Canadian officials will honour the Salvadorean Peace Agreement signed 21 years ago, on January 16, 1992, and do what’s right.

    Facebook event link : https://www.facebook.com/events/150354768447191/
    Some ways to help:

    1.Attend one of the events listed above
    2. Write a letter of support to the Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, and Jose's Member of Parliment Mark Warawa, and also cc your Member of Parliment.
    3. Organize a vigil or rally in support
    4. Contact us to get added to the supporter list wearejose@gmail.com and if you'd like to help in any other ways.
    5. Sign the petition (for copies email us) 

    For more info:
    www.wearejose.com

    Tyee article by UBC prof Maxwell Cameron, about Jose's case http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2010/09/20/OttawasFlawedMemory/

    a CBC report on The National, story about the case:
    http://www.cbc.ca/player/News/TV+Shows/The+National/ID/1607360932/

    Jose's TED X talk:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i84jJ4dQk-E

    For media enquiries please contact:
    Ottawa: Laura Avalos, Salvadorian Canadian Association of Ottawa, 819.319.0904
    Vancouver: Sasha Wood, We Are Jose committee, 604.540.2126, Email: wearejose@gmail.com

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

WE ARE JOSE Legal Defense Fund needs help to raise $10,000 in 90 days!

 
We need your help. Badly. 

As many of you know a group of us started a volunteer committee to help stop Jose Figueroa's deportation. For the next 90 days we are focusing our efforts on raising 10,000 dollars for the legal defense fund.

If you can spare $10 or more and/or send this message to your friends, family, and contacts, it will help provide funds for Jose's legal expenses, including outstanding legal costs and for the legal challenge to change unfair Canadian laws.
Please donate and learn more here:

__________________________

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jose Figueroa speaks at the prestigious TED x talk in Vancouver/ and one simple thing you can do right now to help stop Jose's deportation

Jose with his wife, his oldest son and  Lieutenant-General Roméo Dallaire, a Canadian senator, humanitarian, backstage at TEDx Vancouver 2011
Click 'LIKE' on the new Facebook page to help stop Jose and his family from being deported. 
My friend Jose Figueroa  has unjustly received a deportation order from Canada. Watch his TED Talk at TEDx Vancouver - and please click over to "Like" the We Are Jose Community Page to support him, as I have, and as Jammie Moffet, director of the movie, Return to El Salvador, and Christopher Bennet, the Communications Director for Best Buy Canada, and the new Executive Director of the WE ARE JOSE campaign has! Link to Jose's TED talk http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=10150440920164500  
[Not:  If you have clicked on a previous WE ARE JOSE FB page we ask if you could just take one second and click on this new page as we will be closing down our older sites and just using the one offical site]
How does clicking 'Like' on FaceBook and watching the TED talk help Jose and his family?  Now days social media is an important tool to help provide credibility to the media and politicians that a 'cause' is of concern to many persons across the country. When a facebook page has a large number of 'likes' and when a video link has a huge number of viewers this gets peoples attention, ie, journalists and politicians. Each time you click 'like' that is building a stronger campaign for Jose and his family and sending a louder message for them to Ottawa.  This helps so that the persons in power to do something to help are able to find out about this situation and problem with the immigration policy. As you can imagine, the politicians have many issues that are brought to their attention every day and so we need a way to have this issue get their attention and this facebook page is one way we can help do that together.  
Jose and his family have been suffering under the weight of this mistake and need this to be fixed and resolved quickly so they can get on with their lives in peace.  It has already been over 18 monthes and the stress of the deportation order is taking a toll on the family. The fear of losing this country and community of Langley BC where all their friends and support and connections are is devastating for Jose and his wife and his children, they love Canada and want to stay in their home. We can help. So don't forget to click 'like' and watch the short 17 minute video Ted talk also so we can very soon provide evidence to Ottawa that this issue is of serious concern.
Also the reality is that this issue impacting Jose, has the potential to impact many other Salvadorans and so as we help spread the word by clicking 'like' on the new official We Are Jose community FB page and also when we pass on the links and information to our friends and family we build more awareness of this issue to help prevent this injustice from happening to any other persons.
I have faith that once the people in power hear about Jose's case, and this issue they will want to stop it. But we need to show that there is alot of support from the community to help the politicians understand that this is an important issue.  
Let us know on the FB page http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-Are-Jose/130762186993781 if you have any questions or email us @ wearejose@gmail.com. 
Thanks for your support and Happy Holidays!!!
Sasha Wood, volunteer member of the We Are Jose campaign 
 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

WE ARE JOSE TOUR ACROSS Canada Began March 18th



On March 18th Jose and his son left Vancouver to head to Ottawa by bus to help bring attention to his case. See tour in the news: http://news.sympatico.ctv.ca/canada/salvadoran_refugee_heads_to_ottawa_for_relief/8284a882

We Are Jose Tour Updates:
Jose and his son arrived in Toronto on March 25th. See this link for schedule of Jose's Toronto events http://barrio-nuevo.org/?p=442

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Email: wearejosetour@gmail.com
Ottawa: Laura Avalos, Asociación Salvadoreña
Canadiense de Ottawa – 819 319 0904
Toronto: Sofia Ramirez, Barrio Nuevo – 416 433 9069
Vancouver: Sasha Wood – 604 540 2126

www.wearejose.com

Also see link for more info: http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=190977924268615 
OR read below:

WE ARE JOSE TOUR ACROSS Canda to help bring attention to the mistaken government policy which has led to the wrongful deportation order against Jose.
The situation is especially urgent because many other immigrants are at risk, and because Jose and his wife do not have any status, they have no health care coverage, Jose cannot visit his family or leave the country, and threat of pending deportation is extremely stressful. This limbo has been going on for 13 years and info received from the Ministry of Public Safety states that it will be another 7-9 years for a decision on whether the government will allow him to stay! That is too long to wait especially given that the majority of exemption requests are denied!

The Canadian government issued a deportation order against Jose this past May, claming that his past membership with his student group in college working to speak out against a violent government that used death squads against it's people made him a security risk. This government decision shows a serious problem with the immigration law in Canada -that currently any person who participated in a movement against a government by law are inadmissable to Canada. Such a law is unjust when applied to many situations including Jose's because he was part of a legal and legitimate opposition to a violent government, that used death squads against it's own people. Jose committed no crime and stood up for democratic ideals of justice by opposing the oppressive regime. According to the current law, Jose's lawyer tells us that, Nelson Mandela would be found inadmissable. It is a travesty of justice that someone like Jose who had the courage to stand up to a violent repressive regime would be asked to leave Canada for doing the right thing.

As people and experts all across Canada have written to the government on Jose's behalf due to that the current immigration law is flawed because it allows for innocent persons such as Jose to  be wrongly deported when he had done nothing wrong. Jose told the government of Canada of his association to the opposition, that is why he was allowed in Canada to apply for refugee status. Then after 13 years they decide he must go because of the same reasons they allowed him in. It makes no sense.

The We are Jose campaign is working to bring attention to this mistaken government policy with the hopes of helping not only Jose but also all immigrants at risk because of this policy. Our goal is for Jose to recieve a speedy exemption, permant resident status, and that no other family will have to go thru the stress the Jose and his family are going thru. Organizations such as the Canadian Counsel for Refugees explain that this issue regarding the law in Canada is impacting other groups not only Salvadorans. We need to unite in solidarity to help stop this injustice to refugees. People like Jose I want to be in Canada!

You can help get Jose and his son to Ottawa to meet the PM and bring media attention to the cause. Help needed includes sponsers for the trip. Please send donations for the Figueroa family to, Walnut Grove Luthern Church C/O Jose Figueroa 20530 88 Ave Langley, BC V1M 2Y6. Donations are needed of groceries, money for the trip to Ottawa, plane ticket from Ottawa for Jose's son. Jose and his son began their trip on March 18th to Ottawa where they will meet with supporters and work to bring attention to their plight and request a reversal of the deportation again Jose.

Please help Jose, it is a campaign not only for one immigrant but all immigrants.  For more info wearejose@gmail.com.
www.wearejose.com  
Also see this amazing short mini documentary about Jose's case.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We Are Jose Update -Jose Figueroa Case

  Update re the We Are Jose Campaign. 

The We Are Jose campaign is growing bigger every day. The campaign started up by a UBC student has gone international in less than 2 weeks! It is very inspiring the growing movement across Canada and now internationally calling for the Canadian government to reverse the deportation of Jose Figueroa and his family.

But we still have not had any response from the government and we need your help to write letters to your MP's  [see below for more info about what to write]. Find your MP contact info here http://www2.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/compilations/houseofcommons/memberbypostalcode.aspx?menu=hoc ]

Must see video from El Salvador  Somos Terroristas -We are terrorists



Watch this amazing short mini documentary explaining the case
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyOZKYRGq8o

Watch the 1minute 40 second We Are Jose You Tube video that CBC's George Strombo put on his website http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqAQ1BDyBCM

Please take five minutes now to help and write a letter asap. Jose's lawyers say letters are essential.

But first here is a poem that is very relevant and that I hope you will take to heart to motivate you to do any small thing to help Jose. This issue is not only about Jose but is to help  other refugees impacted by Canada's immigraton law who are currently being wrongly accused of as terrorists in Canada.

Currently under Canada's existing broad and vaque definition of terrorism any individual who ever participated in any opposition group [eg., Nelson Mandella] would be considered terrorists.

First They came... - Pastor Martin Niemoller

First they came for the communists,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists ,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.

"First they came…" is a famous statement attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) about the inactivity of German intellectuals following the Nazi rise to power and the purging of their chosen targets, group after group.


Jose, a Langley BC resident, father of three, ordered deported in May after living in Canada for 13 years was told he must leave canada to his native El Salvador, because of his participation in a political group in college over  20 years ago associated with the opposition group the FMLN that worked to oppose a brutal violent miliary dictatorship that used death squads against any opposition.

It is an obvious mistake to deport Jose and to claim every member of the FMLN as a terrorist. He was standing up for human rights against a murderous regime. Evidence given by the UN truth commission reported that the military dictatorship that the FMLN opposed was responsible for over 85 percent of the human right violations,  and the FMLN only 5 precent. Death squads associated with the government are believed to have contributed to the remaining deaths and violations. The FMLN was a legitimate political group opposing a violent regime. [A similar situation as the jewish resisters fighting the nazi's]

Jose told of his affiliation to the opposition group when he came to canada and he was welcomed as were all the refugees who fled the war in El Salvador. So it makes no sense to deport him now 13 years later. It seems that a lack of knowledge of the regional politics of El Salvador and also terrorism legislation that is so broad it wrongly targets innocent persons like Jose and other refugees has caused this problem. 

Jose's case is significant because it highlights a huge problem with the immigration system whereby any immigrant who was part of an opposition group against a violent dictatorship could be wrongly accused of being a terrorist.

It seems that mistorted fears of terrorism originating in the 1990's and growing after Sept 11 have lead to this problem.

Many other innocent persons have been impacted and more will be if we don't speak out to our MP's and ask them to fix this glaring problem.
In October, Jose's last chance was to ask the Minister of Public Safety to exempt him from deportation. His lawyers say it could take 5-6 years to receive word on an exemption. That is too long to leave the family waiting especially given that it is a mistake that he has been referred for a deportation.

And as CBC -the National coverage  [ see links to media coverage regarding the case at www.wearejose.com] stated the chances that the current hard nosed get tough on terrorism Minister will provide an exemption given other cases is slim.

His lawyers tell us Jose and his families main chance for success is from the community speaking out to their MP's to ask that Jose be exempt.

The evidence presented in Jose immigration board hearing, clearly states that Jose did not do any wrong doing or commit any acts of violence. He was simply participating in legal democratic opposition.

Jose was speaking up for democracy and human rights.

Jose stood up for democracy and human rights and as fellow Canadians I hope you will stand up for Jose and his rights.

Some quick  actions you can do to help.

1. Write or call your MP's [ see link to find your MP http://www2.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/compilations/houseofcommons/memberbypostalcode.aspx?menu=hoc ]. When writing please copy to Cc: wearejose@gmail.com

Tell your MP to push the Minister of Public Safety for a quick reversal of the deportation order, five years is too long to wait. Canada'  immigration law regarding terrorism is so broad that innocent refugees like Jose are being wrongfully targetted.  For all these years in Canada Jose and his wife have no health care coverage; the stress of a pending deportation is horrendous -- any day the Minister could rule that Jose must leave right away and officials would come and pick him and his wife up and seperate them from the children and deport them with no money no home back to El Salvador. This is a terrible stress to live with everyday.

2. Click on http://www.wearejose.com and  PLEASE take 1 min 30 secs watch the wearejose you tube video and send it to your contacts.

Not only Jose is being wrongful targetted as well the whole organization FMLN are being wrongly categorized as a terrorist group. Over 1000 people have signed the petition in support of Jose and the FMLN and many are speaking out for Jose and the FMLN  including MP's academics, Holly wood actor and activist Martin Sheen, members of the El Salvadoran government, CLC[seewww.wearejose.com  for a list of all the endorsers including the current president of the El Salvadoran legislature.

3.  Request a copy of the petition and gather signatures and ask your MP to present the petition in parliment or mail us copies to Walnut Grove Luthern Church 20530 88 Avenue
Langley, BC V1M 2Y6


http://peterjulian.ndp.ca/node/1004

4. Send donations to help the figueroa's pay the huge legal bill they have. Send  care of Jose Figueroa to the Walnut Grove Luthern Church 20530 88 Avenue
Langley, BC V1M 2Y6
6. And most importantly...As Jose's son. always says, 'Don't just sit there do something.' :)


Watch this !!! Somos terroristas http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lt0IK18FrDs&feature=related
Please email us to let us know you have written the letter or any other action you can do to help. This helps us to have a copy of the letter for our records and also helps keep up our morale to know that we have support. Thanks!!!!

For press release see http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=crqthmdab&v=001O3CKqe2sPwwm90v6Kco-yncAkeFXQC8n-HQxoewgRijiHu2L76_V1HvaAu0Y0beJmkfhvv6ll4iHHVkVuJxFaGzu5pk55zoLG9GBGhOJf1o%3D


We Are Jose is a Canadian campaign to reverse the deportation order on Jose Figueroa.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

We are Jose Campaign goes International!

PRESS RELEASE

LOGO We are JOse
WE ARE JOSE
STATEMENT

READ ON JAN.16 2011

A Canadian campaign to reverse the deportation
order against José Figueroa
                            www.wearejose.com


Canada and El Salvador, Jan.16, 2011 - Today, We Are Jose. José Figueroa could be any one of us. He has lived happily in his Langley, BC, community, just outside Vancouver, for over 13 years with his wife, Ivannia, and three Canadian children.  As they built new lives after fleeing danger in El Salvador, they worked hard and became leading members of their local Lutheran church.  Again, their story is ours.

Then, out of the blue, José and his wife were told they were no longer welcome in Canada and were going to be deported.

Vigil in San Salvador at the Peace monument with support of Sigfrido Reyes,
Elected Member and President of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, FMLN

The reason?  As a university student more than 20 years ago, José was associated with the Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation, or FMLN, the broad coalition of opposition forces fighting the ruthless Salvadorean government of the time.

Vigil in Toronto at the San Lorenzo Church with Father Hernán Astudillo,
 Toronto, ON

Indeed, supporting the FMLN was the conscious and courageous choice of countless Salvadoreans trying to free themselves from the tyranny of a Salvadorean state that targeted with impunity priests, nuns, farmers, teachers, workers, professors, students, indeed, anyone opposed to its systematic human rights violations.


And the international community recognized Salvadoreans’ right to defend themselves against oppression.  The FMLN was widely acknowledged as a legitimate and representative opposition organization and as a vital element to bringing democracy to El Salvador.

Vigil in Ottawa at the Human Rights monument

After signing UN-sponsored peace accords with the Salvadorean government exactly 19 years ago today (peace accords that Canada explicitly supported), the FMLN went on to become a leading political party and won the presidency in 2009.  The Canadian government recognized that election as free and fair and even sent a representative, then Minister of State of Foreign Affairs for the Americas and now Minister of the Environment, Peter Kent, to President Mauricio Funes’ inauguration.
Vigil in Ottawa with support of renowned Guatemalan artist, Tito Medina

Still, Canadian border and immigration authorities consider José a threat to Canadian security because of his links to the current democratically elected and internationally recognized governing party of El Salvador, the FMLN.  It simply doesn’t make sense.  And we simply want our government to realize as much.

José, Ivannia, and their three Canadian children are no threats to Canada.  On the contrary, they are exactly the kind of people who have built this great country. 

Vigil in San Salvador at the monument dedicated to Monseñor Romero

Their fate lies in the hands of Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews.  Supporters of the WE ARE JOSE campaign demand that Minister Toews immediately grant José Figueroa an exemption that declares him no threat to national security and that allows the Figueroa family to continue leading productive lives in Canada.  We further demand that he ensure that the FMLN and its many supporters are no longer mischaracterized as threats by Canadian authorities. 
Vigil in Langley, BC, at Walnut Grove Lutheran Church. WE ARE JOSE mural done by Jose himself
in honour of all his supporters and for fundraising.

By this, he will honour the Salvadorean Peace Agreement we celebrate today and do what’s right.

Supporters of José:

Martin Sheen, actor and activist, CA, USA
Jamie Moffet, Director, Return to El Salvador, Philadelphia, USA
Mark Warawa, Conservative Member of Parliament for Langley, BC
Don Davies, NDP Member of Parliament for Vancouver Kingsway, BC
Peter Julian, NDP Member of Parliament for Burnaby-New Westminster, BC
Sigfrido Reyes, Elected Member and President of the Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, FMLN
Jorge Schafik Handal Vega Silva, Elected Member of Legislative Assembly of El Salvador, President of the External Relations, Central American Integration, and Salvadoreans Abroad Commission, FMLN
Fredy Tejada, Elected Member, Central American Parliament, FMLN
Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC
Pastor Sebastian Meadows-Helmer, Thornhill, ON
The Thornhill Ecumenical Ministerial, Thornhill, ON
San Lorenzo Anglican Parrish and Community Centre, Toronto, ON
Canadian Labour Congress (CLC)
Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Ontario Division
Salvadorian Canadian Association of Ottawa and National Capital Region (ASCORCAN), Ottawa, ON
Barrio Nuevo, Toronto, ON
Maxwell Cameron, Professor of Political Science, University of British Colombia, BC
Jerry Spiegel, Professor and Director of the Liu Institute for Global Studies, University of British Colombia,
Katherine Reilly, Professor, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, BC
Kerry Preibisch, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, ON
Gus Van Harten, Associate Professor, Osgoode Law School, York University, ON
Oswaldo Ventura, Coordinator, FMLN-Toronto, Toronto, ON
Réseau de la commission populaire / People’s Commission Network, Montréal, QC
Latin American and Caribbean Solidarity Network, Toronto, ON
El Salvador Sister Cities Network, Milwaukee, USA
Justicia for Migrant Workers, Toronto, ON
International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, Ottawa, ON
Radio Cadena Mi Gente, El Salvador
La Re-Vista Radio, Vancouver, BC
Comisión Internacional del FNRP
El Comité Muralla 700 de Ottawa-Gatineau
RAICES Latin American Cultural Society, Vancouver, BC
The Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle/HOV, Toronto, ON
Pastor Karl Keller, Langley, BC
Students at Simon Fraser University, BC
Students at University of British Colombia, BC
Pastor William Osmar Chamagua, Virginia, USA
And many others…

==30 ==

For all Enquiries media and other:
Ottawa: Laura Avalos, Salvadorian Canadian Association of Ottawa, 819.319.0904
Toronto: René Guerra Salazar, Barrio Nuevo, 416.939.2892
Vancouver: Sasha Wood, 604.540.2126, sashabwood@yahoo.com
Langley, B.C., Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, 20530-88 Avenue, Langley, BC, 604-888-1004