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José Figueroa granted a new hearing

Langley’s José Figueroa is shown inside Walnut Grove Lutheran church, where he has lived for the past eight months while awaiting a decision about whether he will be permitted to stay in Canada. Earlier this month, a hearing to have Canada formally acknowledge that the FMLN is not a terrorist organization, was postponed.   - Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times
Langley’s José Figueroa is shown inside Walnut Grove Lutheran church, where he has lived for the past eight months while awaiting a decision about whether he will be permitted to stay in Canada. Earlier this month, a hearing to have Canada formally acknowledge that the FMLN is not a terrorist organization, was postponed.
— image credit: Dan FERGUSON/Langley Times

A Federal Court judge has granted a new judicial review in José Figueroa’s bid to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

On Thursday, Judge Richard Mosley wrote that the decision by an Immigration case worker to deport the Langley father of three was “not reasonable in the sense required by the jurisprudence, ie. that the decision is intelligible, transparent and justified.”

“This is great news,” said Figueroa. “This is the best scenario. We are getting closer, but we have to keep on going and encourage people to write to the ministers to make the decision as fast as possible.”

Since being ordered deported to his native El Salvador, Figueroa has been forced to claim sanctuary inside his church in Walnut Grove.

He has lived there for the past eight months.

In that time, Canadian Border Service Agency officers check on him nearly every day to make sure he hasn’t stepped outside the church, Figueroa said. The CBSA continues these efforts, even after Figueroa was granted temporary relief by the courts on his deportation order, while his applications go through the courts.

In Mosley’s decision he writes, “the humanitarian and compassionate grounds are exceptionally strong in this case.”

“As evidenced by the support that the applicant and his family have received from the community.”

Figueroa has lived in Canada with his wife for 16 years.

All three of their children were born at Langley Memorial Hospital.

Their oldest, José Ivan, has autism but is doing well with strong support from his father and his support team.

Mosley said the Immigration case manager failed to look at Figueroa’s family situation realistically.

“The Delegate (who declared his deportation) found that this relationship (with his son Ivan) could be maintained long distance by way of Skype, suggesting that the separation would have no detrimental effect on José Ivan’s development,” wrote Mosley.

“That is contrary to the evidence of a school resource teacher. . . the Delegate makes no reference to the evidence that stability is important in the development of an autistic child.

“Her conclusion that the applicant’s wife will be able to remain in Canada and care for the children ignores the difficulties she will encounter as a single parent trying to both provide and care for them.

Mosley notes that none of the immigration officers who considered his case over the years found that Figueroa was a risk to Canada’s security.

He also notes that the case manager “unreasonably referred to the FMLN as a terrorist organization.”

He also points out that the FMLN has not been proscribed as a ‘terrorist entity’ on the list maintained by the Government of Canada.

While everyone appears to agree the FMLN is not a terrorist organization, nor is it considered a threat to Canadian security, Figueroa has applied to the courts to make that position official.

That court case was supposed to go ahead last week but was delayed. In that case, Figueroa is asking for an official document that says the FMLN, (the current democratically elected government of El Salvador) does not appear on any Canadian list of terrorist groups.

No new court date has been set.

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