A senior immigration officer’s decision to deny permanent residency to a failed asylum seeker because of his links to a resistance movement in El Salvador did not take into account “exceptionally strong” humanitarian and compassionate reasons to let him stay, a federal judge has ruled in a case that activists say highlights how Canada’s laws can too easily peg someone as a security threat
Jose Figueroa, who came to Canada as a refugee in 1997, was once a member of Frente Farabundo Marti para la Liberacion Nacional (FMLN) that opposed El Salvador’s former military regime. He helped recruit for the FMLN and organized meetings but was not involved in the armed struggle.
In a decision last year, Karine Roy-Tremblay, director of case determination for Citizenship and Immigration Canada, rejected Figueroa’s application to be allowed to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds after he had been deemed inadmissible to the country on security grounds.
While acknowledging that he had not taken part in any violent campaigns with the FMLN, Roy-Tremblay said Figueroa was “not just a sympathizer to the causes.” She deemed him to have been a member of an organization that engaged in terrorism, and, therefore, a security risk.
But in a ruling posted online Monday, Richard Mosley, a federal judge, said the immigration officer’s decision was unreasonable “as it failed to take into account the nature of the conflict and Mr. Figueroa’s personal role as a non-combatant political advocate” and ordered that a different immigration officer review the application. Continue reading