Canada says it welcomes honest, hard-working, law-abiding people who will use their skills for the betterment of Canadian society, and says it will provide safety and security for victims of torture and gross human rights abuses from around the world. Yet a couple who meets both these descriptions is facing imminent deportation. Their only crime was daring to report one.
Ana and Ramon came to Canada from Mexico in 2008. After Ana reported a crime, the couple came to the attention of one of Mexico’s most dangerous drug cartels. They were kidnapped and tortured in front of each other. For three more years, they faced constant harassment, intimidation and threats of further violence and degradation. Since 2007, this cartel, unnamed here for reasons of safety, has managed to violently assert its control over a huge portion of Mexico as it has been proven that they work directly with Mexican authorities. In the midst of this war, innocent civilians like Ana and Ramon have become victims.
Since fleeing to Canada, Ana and Ramon have worked to overcome the physical and psychological trauma they suffered. They have worked thankless jobs while working to obtain Canadian credentials. Now, Ana works as the controller in a small food business and is responsible for its finance department, while Ramon does bookkeeping and accounting. They volunteer within their community and with several Canadian NGOs working on human rights and international justice issues. Their passion for Canada comes from knowing and deeply appreciating that Canada gave them a second chance at safety – a second chance at life. They deeply feel all the little freedoms that Canadians take for granted every day.
Unfortunately Ana and Ramon have now become victims of Canada’s immigration system, which has rejected them on largely political grounds while ignoring strong and undeniable evidence that the security situation in Mexico has significantly deteriorated since 2008. Under Canadian law, a significant negative change in the circumstances in a person’s home country is grounds for allowing them to stay. Canadian law also provides that applicants will be successful where it can be shown that the state security is either unwilling or unable to provide adequate protection to its citizens; in this case, the Mexican authorities are complicit with the drug cartel that has targeted Ana and Ramon. Despite saying that Canada will open its doors to hard-working and law-abiding people who want and deserve to be new Canadians, the Immigration and Refugee Board has ruled that Ana and Ramon have not integrated sufficiently into Canadian society, despite the overwhelming evidence from their school, their employers, their friends, their co-workers, and the many members of their community who have all written letters to attest that Ana and Ramon are people who make Canada a better place to live.
Please help us ensure that justice is done in this case, so that Ana and Ramon can live free of torture and fear, in the country that they love desperately. Sign the petition to help stop Ana and Ramon’s deportation so that they can continue to contribute to Canadian society!
I am writing today to ask you to take immediate action to stop the imminent removal of Toronto residents Ana and Ramon (Case #6075-8606), whose last names are being publicly withheld for security reasons. Ana and Ramon came to Canada in 2008 after they were kidnapped and violently tortured in front of each other by members of an extremely dangerous drug cartel in Mexico. The complicity of Mexican authorities continuing corruption within both local, state, and national Mexican security officials means that there is no effective state protection available to victims of cartel violence in Mexico, like Ana and Ramon.
Under Canadian and international law, the principle of non-refoulement states that Canada shall not remove protected persons to a country where they would be at risk of torture or cruel and unusual treatment or punishment. Furthermore, the Immigration and Refugee Board ignored evidence demonstrating conclusively that there has been a significant deterioration of the security situation in Mexico, such that it would be unsafe to remove Ana and Ramon to that country.
You have repeatedly stated publicly that Canada wants to attract honest, hard-working, skilled people who will come to Canada and work for the betterment of Canadian society. Ana and Ramon are exactly those people. Despite all the hardships they suffered, Ana and Ramon were determined to give their best to Canada in gratitude for the second chance at safety – at life – that they were offered here. Ana now works as the controller responsible for finance and accounting in a small food business, and Ramon works in bookkeeping and accounting. Both are tireless volunteers and have the support of their friends, co-workers, colleagues and members of their community who attest that Ana and Ramon make Canada a better place. Ana and Ramon are therefore eligible to stay in Canada both as protected refugees and as immigrants demonstrating significant integration into Canada and a high probability of hardship if they are forced to return to Mexico.
Ana and Ramon have no criminal record and have been paying taxes since they received their Canadian work permits. They are the very honest, hard-working, and skilled people that Canada consistently says it welcomes. Please do everything you can to stop the removal of Ana and Ramon and grant them status to remain in Canada safely, and ensure Canada lives up to its legal obligations and its public commitment to those working for the betterment of Canadian society.