Saturday 26 November 2022

Press Release: Community Shares Love and Support for Family Facing Deportation Before Christmas

Vancouver --- Stacks of over 1000 Christmas cards piled up in St James Anglican Church on Saturday at an event to show support for the Bazan family, Leticia Bazan Porto (“Lety”), her sons Andres Obed Liberato Bazan (“Andres”) and Isaias Alain Liberato Bazan (“Isaias”), her daughter-in-law Claudia Alejandra Zamorano Gomez (“Claudia”) and her 9 year old granddaughter, who face deportation on December 19th.

Friends, co-workers, and family shared heartfelt tributes to the family- sharing how much they mean to the community. They appealed to Sean Fraser, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, to ensure a positive decision on the family’s ongoing application for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, and to implement a broad and inclusive regularization program so that other people do not end up in the same situation. This family has been in Canada and contributing meaningfully to our communities for over 5 years, and the granddaughter has done all her schooling in Canada.

Last week, the family’s lawyer provided a 945-page request to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) asking that their removal be deferred until a decision on their application for permanent residence could be made. This would allow the family to continue their life in Canada while they wait for this decision. The CBSA refused the request in less than 24 hours. Meanwhile, the family has been waiting for a decision on their application for permanent residence for over a year.

"Canada should uphold their reputation of being welcoming to refugees and migrants and keep Lety and her family here,” said Ingrid Mendez, Executive Director of Watari Counselling & Support Services Society. “Every single day, Lety offers her skills, gifts, and time making dignified and healthy food for the community. She spends her time making sure people are safe, having their basic needs met- how can she be disregarded and disposed of so easily?”

Claudia is also serving our communities as a health care worker at Royal Columbian Hospital, and her union is calling for the government to let the family stay. “At a time when our healthcare system is in critical need of experienced health care workers, we should not be turning away those who have contributed their skills and valuable experience to help protect Canadians. Let Claudia and her family stay!" said Betty Valenzuela, Financial Secretary of the Hospital Employees' Union.

“This family is very important to our community, we value and love them very much. They deserve to stay with us in Canada. A deportation would be a threat to their life,” said Father Jose Rocha, Pastor, Iglesia de Dios de la Profeci.

“Every year in December, we notice the CBSA increasing their activities as they try to meet their annual deportation quotas,” says Omar Chu, a member of Sanctuary Health. “The holiday spirit is about communities coming together to care for each other in reciprocity and solidarity, it’s not about CBSA deporting families to get their Christmas bonus.”

Sanctuary Health is a grassroots community group. We deploy direct action, movement-building, community-engagement, and direct support strategies to advocate for access to services for all regardless of immigration status or documentation. We are committed to building cross-sectoral alliances of mutual support to advance the migrant-justice movement on unceded Coast Salish territories.

Watari was developed in 1986 as a response to the lack of services and programs for high-risk street involved youth in Vancouver. Since then, Watari has helped thousands of people in the downtown eastside and the surrounding communities, through several youth and community programs as well as through our counselling team. Over the years, Watari has developed important programs not only for youth, but for everyone needing support here in the community, including Indigenous people and migrant workers. Our Latin American Group and Vietnamese Community Kitchen have become important staples in the community as well. Although much has changed over the years, Watari continues to be a safe and supportive place for the people in the community. Today, Watari has 13 essential programs made possible by the dedicated staff, and amazing volunteers and community partners!

The Hospital Employees’ Union is B.C.’s largest health care union with more than 50,000 members working across the health care team in hospitals, care homes, community services, First Nation’s health organizations, and in the health logistics and supply. Sanctuary Health is a grassroots community group that deploys direct action, movement-building, community-engagement, and direct support strategies to advocate for access to services for all regardless of immigration status or documentation.