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CBSA doesn’t deserve blame for in-custody death of Mexican national

By Brent Stafford, The Duel

Columnists Laila Yuile and Brent Stafford battle over the issues of the day. The winner of last week’s duel on the transit referendum was Laila with 64%.

This week’s topic: Should the Canadian Border Services Agency be held responsible for the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez?

Last Friday night, outside the Canadian Border Services Agency’s downtown Vancouver office, an estimated 100 people gathered to protest the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez while in CBSA custody.

Jimenez, a Mexican national, was working illegally in Vancouver as a hotel cleaner. She had previously applied for refugee status, which was denied in 2010. After being deported to Mexico, she returned to Vancouver — living underground to avoid being deported again. In December, she was arrested by Transit Police for an unpaid fare. When her immigration status was discovered, she was detained and transferred to the CBSA facility at YVR to be deported. While in custody, Jimenez hung herself and she died eight days later in hospital.

Read Laila Yuile’s column

Who is to blame for the Jimenez death? In a discussion with a colleague of mine, it was suggested that Jimenez’s alleged boyfriend is culpable. It’s alleged this person stole her savings while she was in custody and failed to heed her request to bail her out before Christmas. Others point to what they describe as cruel and punitive conditions at immigration detention centres.

Finally, some lay the blame directly at the feet of Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the CBSA. According to the website for No One Is Illegal Vancouver — the self-described radical group which organized Friday’s protest — Jimenez’s death is the latest in a series of suicides as a result of violent and exclusionary immigration and refugee policies. The CBSA is under direct fire for the death because Jimenez was in its custody. I don’t accept any of these arguments.


Who wins this week’s duel on CBSA’s role on the death of Lucia Vega Jimenez?

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B.C.: Mexican woman dies in Canada Border Services custody

By David P. Ball, 24 hours Vancouver

The B.C. Coroners service has confirmed the death of a Mexican national who was being held by Canada Border Services Agency on Dec. 28

Lucia Vega Jimenez, 42, died in Vancouver’s Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital. The cause of her death hasn’t been revealed because it is an “open case under active investigation,” Coroner spokeswoman Barb McLintock told 24 hours.

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MONTREAL, QC: Illegal Ivonne Hernandez fights deportation to Mexico

Ivonne Hernandez, 41, arrived in Montreal in 2009 and filed to remain as a refugee based on her claim that she was abused by a police officer in her hometown of Mexico City. Read more:

Woman fights order to leave Canada without her baby
Read more:

CTV Montreal
Published Saturday, February 1, 2014 5:32PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, February 1, 2014 6:34PM EST

MONTREAL – Local human rights advocates are crying foul after a Mexican woman denied refugee status was ordered to leave the country without the right to take her Canadian-born baby.

Ivonne Hernandez, 41, arrived in Montreal in 2009 and filed to remain as a refugee based on her claim that she was abused by a police officer in her hometown of Mexico City.

She was given partial custody of her child after a split with her husband, against whom she made a claim of domestic abuse after their split.

Hernandez’s refugee claim was refused and she now faces deportation on February 7. She cannot bring her baby at that time because she remains embroiled in an unresolved custody dispute with the baby’s father.


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Maria Morales suing Alberta Health Services over her cancer misdiagnosis


Morales is suing Alberta Health Services, Calgary Laboratory Services and the pathologist for missing her cancer when it was in its early stages.

Cancer, denied refugee claim sour Mexican woman’s Canadian dream
Couple from Mexico coping with misdiagnosis and cuts to refugee health care
CBC News Posted: Mar 19, 2013 1:51 PM MT Last Updated: Mar 19, 2013 9:06 PM MT
A Mexican couple’s dream of starting over in Canada is unravelling amid a misdiagnosed cancer, a lawsuit and rejected refugee claims from Ottawa.

Maria Morales and Ivan Nava came from Tierra Colorada in Guerrero state in southwestern Mexico, a region controlled by drug cartels and corrupt police.
‘I couldn’t believe it. When they gave us the news, I felt so sad.’
— Maria Morales
Morales’s former partner, an architect and father to her now grown son, was killed for reasons that were never clear to her, she says.

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Refugees complain about lack of health coverage


Edwin Naula Alvarracin was born with a deformed vertebrae, but his kyphoscoliosis has deteriorated since he came to Canada causing excruciating pain that requires a surgery.

Refugees without health care caught between death and debts
No one wants to see a patient suffer, but are we responsible for the health care of failed refugees and asylum seekers from so-called safe countries?
NICHOLAS KEUNG / Toronto Star 
Edwin Naula Alvarracin was born with a deformed vertebrae, but his kyphoscoliosis has deteriorated since he came to Canada causing excruciating pain that requires a surgery.
By: Nicholas Keung Immigration reporter, Published on Fri Mar 29 2013
Explore This Story1 Photo

Israel Sosa’s deportation has been put on hold as the 50-year-old battles colon cancer.

The failed refugee claimant from the Dominican Republic has been allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian grounds for now — but he has been banned from getting treatment under Ottawa’s Interim Federal Health (IFH) Program for refugees.

The Toronto man could choose to delay treatment and face death — or go into debt paying his medical costs.

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Marriage fraud: Jorge Manuel Batista Gonzalez abandons Canadian wife upon arrival into Canada


Standen says she met Gonzalez on vacation at the Club Amigo resort in Guardalavaca in April 2010, where he worked as an entertainer.

Marriage to Cuban leaves Brampton bride brokenhearted — and broke
Erin Standen says the man she met in April 2010 vanished three days after finally joining her in Canada — an all-too-familiar story for Border Services.
By: Nicholas Keung Immigration reporter, Published on Thu Feb 07 2013

After Erin Standen married the man of her dreams a year ago, she showered him and his family in Cuba with love — and gifts.

In June, while waiting for the spousal sponsorship to come through in Havana, the 28-year-old Brampton single mother began renovating her basement apartment for their new life.

She ripped out the carpet, installed tile floors, bought a 47-inch big-screen TV and put in a $4,000 bedroom set, anticipating his arrival.

On Jan. 12, the long wait was finally over and Jorge Manuel Batista Gonzalez, 33, arrived at Pearson International Airport, embraced by an exhilarated Standen.

Three days later, Standen says, Gonzalez — after kissing her goodbye as she left for her waitressing job — walked out the door with all the clothes and other things she had bought for him, along with $1,000 tip money she had collected in the bedroom.

All that remained of him, she says, was a misspelled note on a crumpled napkin: “Sorry I don’t fell love anymore. Don’t lock for me. I’l be good. I will try to pay you back. Thank x Everithing. Jorge Manuel.”

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