Confirmed victory

(Version Français après)

At 8pm on Friday evening (May 13), award-winning undocumented queer artist Alvaro Orozco was arrested on his way to dinner with friends. Now in detention at the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre, he faces imminent deportation to Nicaragua.

An accomplished artist and dedicated advocate for queer and newcomer youth, Alvaro’s love for art and commitment to community has captured the appreciation and respect of thousands of people in Toronto. He received the 2010 Street-Level Advocate Award from the Toronto Youth Cabinet and City of Toronto in recognition of his work with queer and newcomer youth.

Alvaro first rose to national prominence in 2007 when his refugee claim was denied on the basis that he did not look “gay enough” for the adjudicator hearing his case via a television screen in Calgary.

This story was picked up by the largest newspapers in Nicaragua, effectively “outing” him to the entire country he left at age 12 due to severe physical abuse by a father who threatened to “kill any child of his that was homosexual.”

Alvaro, now 25, is still waiting for a decision on his Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) application.

Alvaro’s Accomplishments & Exhibits

- Volunteer/Mentor with Supporting Our Youth (SOY)
- Mayworks Festival, Toronto, 2011
- Toronto Youth Cabinet, 2010 Identify & Impact Awards, Street-Level Advocate Award Winner
- Migrant Expressions Photography Exhibition, Montreal, 2009
- Under the Bridge Art Exhibition, Toronto, 2009
- Jumblies Theatre, Prop-Maker and Photographer, Toronto, 2009
- Refugee Rights Day, Toronto City Hall, Toronto, 2008
- ArtWherk Collective 2007, Pride Art Exhibition, Toronto, 2007

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Version Français

Laissez Alvaro Rester!

À 20 heures le vendredi soir (13 mai), artiste sans-papiers, Alvaro Orozco a été arrêté sur le chemin du retour après avoir soupé avec des amis. Maintenant, en détention au Centre de Toronto Immigration Holding, il fait face à une déportation imminente au Nicaragua.

Alvaro est un artiste accompli et défendeur pour les jeunes homosexuels et les nouveaux arrivants. Son amour pour l'art et l'engagement envers la collectivité ont capté l'appréciation et le respect de milliers de personnes à Toronto. Il a reçu en 2010, le prix ‘street level advocate’ de la Toronto Youth Cabinet et la ville de Toronto en reconnaissance de son travail avec les jeunes nouveaux arrivants LGBTQ.

L’histoire personnelle d’Alvaro s'est passée au média national en 2007, lorsque sa demande d'asile a été rejetée parce ce que le commissaire de la CISR (Commission de l’immigration et du statut de réfugié) ne croyait pas qu’il était gai. Alvaro était présent pour son audience à Toronto pendant que la commissaire était à Calgary (vidéo-conférence).

Cette histoire a été reprise par les plus grands journaux au Nicaragua. Maintenant, Alvaro est devenu plus vulnérable. En effet,  il a quitté son pays à 12 ans en raison d’abus et de persécution par un père qui l’a menacé en disant qu’il va tuer son enfant s’il est gai.

Alvaro a aujourd'hui 25 ans, il est toujours en attente d'une décision sur son demande de résidence permanente par considérations d’ordre humanitaire.

Les amis d'Alvaro se réunissent pour se déplacer rapidement à surseoir à son expulsion. Il est essentiel que nous gardions cette voix forte dans notre communauté.

Les réalisations et expositions d’Alvaro

 
- Bénévole avec Supporting Our Youth (SOY)
- Festival Mayworks, Toronto, 2011
- Toronto Youth Cabinet, 2010 Impact Award Recipient
- Exposition -  Expressions Migrants, Montréal, 2009
- Dans le cadre du Salon Art Bridge, Toronto, 2009
- Théâtre Jumblies, Prop-Maker et photographe, Toronto, 2009
- Exposition Journée des droits des réfugiés, Hôtel de Ville de Toronto, Toronto, 2008
- Exposition collective ArtWherk 2007, Art Pride, Toronto, 2007

Letter to
Minister of Citizenship & Immigration Jason Kenney
We, the undersigned, ask that Alvaro Orozco be able to stay in Canada until his application for status on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds is thoroughly reviewed. We ask that the legal system of Canada demonstrate at least a fraction of the generosity, compassion and care that Alvaro has demonstrated as an award-winning member of Canada’s art, human rights and LGBTQ communities. We support Alvaro’s application to become a permanent resident of Canada – please let Alvaro stay.

Alvaro Orozco is currently being held at the Toronto Immigration Holding Centre and he faces imminent deportation to Nicaragua. Alvaro is an established and dynamic member of the LGBTQ community of Toronto. Many people were filled with heartbreak and anger when, in 2007, his refugee claim was denied because the adjudicator decided he was not "gay enough". This story was picked up by the largest newspapers in Nicaragua, effectively 'outing' him across the country and making it even more dangerous for him to return. If only this initial, deeply troubling, mistake hadn't been made then things would never have gotten to this terrible moment.

But there is still hope. Alvaro's application for permanent residence on the basis of Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds should be reviewed very soon. Now with better legal advice and a strong community backing him up, we are confident that Alvaro will be successful with this application.

An accomplished artist and dedicated advocate for queer and newcomer youth, Alvaro’s love for art and his commitment to community has captured the appreciation and respect of thousands of people in Toronto. He received the 2010 Street-Level Advocate Award from the Toronto Youth Cabinet and City of Toronto in recognition of his work with LGBTQ and newcomer youth.

We urge you to remember that the spirit of the law is justice. It wasn't fair what happened to Alvaro in 2007. It isn't fair that this young man who has improved the lives of so many people in Canada is now sitting in a cell. You have the power to make things fair now.

Let Alvaro stay and continue to build a life here. We need him.