Friday, October 15, 2010

In Canada, autistic teen begs government not to deport his father

From The Province in Canada:

VANCOUVER, Canada — An autistic teen in B.C. is pleading with the government not to deport his father to El Salvador because of his terrorist ties.

In a letter to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, Jose Ivan Figueroa says he feels “upset” and “threatened” by his father’s deportation order, issued on May 5.

“Also, I fear I could lose my special education. I need the special education because I was diagnosed with autism in 2002,” the teen wrote from Langley, B.C. “In El Salvador, this special education is not available.”

His father, Jose Figueroa, has admitted he was a member of a Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front in his youth.

The group, considered a terrorist organization by Canadian officials, was a collection of five left-wing groups that fought against an oppressive right-wing state responsible for death-squad killings. Figueroa had helped build support for the group in the 1980s, when El Salvador was embroiled in civil war.

After a United Nations-sponsored peace deal in 1992, the organization took office, and still governs the country.

Figueroa’s son also said he was afraid to return to El Salvador “because there is lots of violence there.”

“If my family is deported, I would feel unsafe because of gang-related activity that is in El Salvador,” the teen wrote.

Langley Conservative MP Mark Warawa has also written two letters to Toews requesting an exemption for Figueroa.

“I support the Figueroa’s efforts to remain in Canada as a family,” he wrote in his most recent letter.

Warawa also noted that Figueroa’s deportation from Canada with his wife would also indirectly require their three children to leave.

“Canadians should not be required to leave Canada,” Warawa wrote. “My request to you is this family’s last chance to remain in Canada. I ask you to please grant them a ministerial exemption.”

Figueroa’s three children are Canadian citizens. The family has been in Canada for more than 13 years.