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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Join and Support WE ARE JOSE Jan. 16. 2011


JAN.16 2011

A Canadian campaign to reverse the deportation order against José Figueroa

Vancouver, January 2nd, 2011. People from all walks of life and community-based organizations are joining forces to reverse the deportation order against José Figueroa and his family and are making a call to all to join the WE ARE JOSE campaign. Several initiatives are being organized for the WE ARE JOSE Campaign held across several Canadians cities on January 16th, 2011. Visit for more information.

WE ARE JOSE supporters believe that the Canadian government’s decision to deport José is a mistake and that this error impacts not only Jose and his family but also puts many Canadians of Salvadorean origin at risk of deportation. The campaign requests that the Canadian government, in particular the Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews, respond to the demand to grant José an exemption by January 16th declaring him no threat to national security, in honour of the Salvadorean Peace Agreement and as a reminder to Canadians that our country played a key role in putting an end to El Salvador’s bloody 12-year civil war.

WATCH documentary made by Simon Fraser University students on José Figueroa's case:

Join WE ARE JOSE National Day of support, January 16th

In Ottawa, ON:
Vigil at the Human Rights Monument on Elgin St. (at Lisgar), 4:30pm
Bring candles, lanterns and banners. Guest speakers & artist!

In Langley, BC:
Vigil at Walnut Grove Luthern Church, 5:30pm
20530 88th Avenue, Langley, BC V1M 2Y6

In Toronto, ON: TBA
In Montreal, QC: TBA


1. Offer your endorsement to the WE ARE JOSE campaign, either as a person or organization or both. Send us an email at Don’t forget to FWD this email to all potential supporters.

2. Print and display the WE ARE JOSE logo in a visible place such as your Facebook profile, door step, back of your car, desk top at work, etc... Visit to download it.

3. Watch and Fwd to all your friends the WE ARE JOSE video:

4. Record your video response to the WE ARE JOSE youtube video. You can say who you are and where you are from and why you support WE ARE JOSE. See for instructions.

5. Send an email to the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Vic Toews, at, requesting the reverse of the deportation order. Get a sample letter at

6. Organize an event of solidarity for Jose and let us know when and where it will be. Recommended events are vigils of support and commemorating the peace agreement. Can include showings of the recently released documentary about José’s case and host a discussion.

MORE ACTIONS of Support visit:

READ more about José’s case at the following blogs and below:

José’s supporters:
Martin Sheen, American actor and activist, CA                                      
Jamie Moffet, Director, Return to El Salvador, Philadelphia
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
Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, Langley BC
Barrio Nuevo, Toronto, ON
Students at Simon Fraser University, BC
Students at University of British Colombia, Vancouver, BC
Salvadorian Canadian Association of Ottawa and National Capital Region, Ottawa, ON
Latin American Law Student Association, University of Ottawa, 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, BC
Katherine Reilly, Professor, School of Communication, Simon Fraser University, BC
Dr. Kerry Preibisch, Associate Professor, Sociology and Anthropology, University of Guelph, ON
Pastor Karl Keller, Langley, BC
Pastor, William Osmar Chamagua, Virginia
El Comité Muralla 700 de Ottawa-Gatineau
RAICES Latin American Cultural Society
René Guerra Salazar, Ottawa, ON
Laura Avalos, Gatineau, QC
Selvin Mejia, Ottawa, ON
Sasha Wood, New Westminster, BC
Pablo Vivanco, Toronto, ON
Caroline Chingcuanco, Vancouver, BC
Miriam Mendez, Gatineau, QC
Gloria Mendez, Gatineau, QC
Gina Lodge, Langley, BC
Devin Gillan, Langley, BC
Dr. Robin Wood, St. John’s, Newfoundland
Margo Donovan, Langley, BC
Deborah Woods, Shanty Bay, ON
Eric Mills, Toronto, ON
Simon Schachner, Nanaimo, BC
Steven Cameron, Hamilton, ON
Robin Woods, St John’s, NL
and many others…

Information about the JOSE FIGUEROA CASE:

Who is Jose Figueroa? He is a Salvadorean married father of three Canadian children who has lived in British Columbia for over 13 years. In May 2010, the Immigration and Refugee Board issued a deportation order against him and his wife based on his links as a university student more than 20 years ago to the Farabundo Martí Front for National Liberation (FMLN), a broad coalition of groups opposed to El Salvador’s ruthless government at the time, renowned for its rampant human rights violations.  During El Salvador’s civil war, the FMLN was internationally recognized as a legitimate and representative opposition group.  After peace was signed, the FMLN became a leading political party, and its candidate won the 2009 presidential election.  Despite this, Canadian border and immigration authorities consider that the FMLN was an organization that “engaged in terrorist activities.”  What’s more, José disclosed his student links (José was not a combatant) to the FMLN to Canadian immigration authorities when he arrived in Canada more than 13 years ago.  It was only in late 2009 that Canadian border and immigration authorities declared José unwelcome in Canada because of his past links to the FMLN. We believe that it is a mistake for our government to deport José for his past association with the FMLN.  The decision to deport José is based on a lack of accurate information about El Salvador’s political history, and we call on our government to address this error and reverse José’s deportation order.

Why are events taking place on January 16th?  On January 16th, 1992, the Government of El Salvador and the FMLN signed a peace agreement, ending 12 years of civil war in the country.  The negotiations leading to the agreement were facilitated by the United Nations, with Canada’s explicit support.  By deporting José based on his past association with the FMLN, the Canadian government is in effect tarnishing the significance the Peace Accords it supported.  Furthermore, such a decision ignores what the UN Truth Commission determined after peace was signed – that the Salvadorean state and its paramilitary allies systematically abused human rights and that the FMLN had a legal right to oppose the government.

Why is this campaign needed? José’s only chance to beat the deportation order is to request an exemption from the Minister of Public Safety. On October 12th 2010, Jose’s application was submitted to the Minister. However, it can take 5-6 years for the Minister of Public Safety to respond.  We are asking Minister Toews to take favourable action much sooner than that – 13 years is long enough. During that time, José and his family have been ineligible for health care and other rights of residents and citizens of Canada.  José and his wife fled from danger to Canada, were honest with Canadian authorities when they arrived, have been law-abiding members of their Langley, BC community, have three Canadian children, have had to pay out-of-pocket for all their medical bills, and now have a deportation order hanging over their heads.  This is no way to live, especially given that this deportation order is a mistake made by the Canadian government. 

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,
Langley, B.C., Walnut Grove Lutheran Church, 20530-88 Avenue, Langley, BC, 604-888-1004

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