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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 ]

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

Watch this amazing short mini documentary explaining the case

Watch the 1minute 40 second We Are Jose You Tube video that CBC's George Strombo put on his website

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] 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 ]. When writing please copy to Cc:

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 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[  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

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
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

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

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