Mexican teenager to be deported Saturday

A last-ditch effort to keep a Mexican teenager in Canada failed Friday as a federal judge dismissed a request to stay the teenager’s deportation order.

Daniel Garcia, 18, is set to be deported back to Mexico on Saturday.

At a hearing on Friday, Garcia’s immigration lawyers asked that Garcia be allowed to stay in Toronto until the end of the school year.

“The court said no,” said one of Garcia’s lawyers Daniel Kingwell. “The reasons were primarily what we call “unclean hands.” The idea is that if you’re asking the court to do something for you, you should have been abiding by the rules yourself. (Garcia) didn’t advise them of a change of address . . . and that’s why a warrant was issued for him and he was arrested.”

The teenager came to Canada three years ago with his older sister Brenda, a lesbian who claims she was fleeing homophobic violence. Supporters say Brenda’s partner was shot to death and Garcia fears he will also be targeted.

The siblings tried to make a refugee claim but were rejected last December. Brenda was deported earlier this week.

Friends, teachers and supporters of Garcia held a rally Friday outside the Federal Court of Appeal to call on the government to let the Grade 11 student stay in Canada.

Lawyers are also trying to get Garcia a temporary resident permit, which could be granted before his deportation on Saturday.

A separate request was made Thursday to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews to stop the deportation but that too was denied, said Garcia’s lawyer Guidy Mamann.

“(Immigration minister Jason Kenney) hasn’t told us what time (the deportation) is tomorrow because of the great public interest,” Mamann said. “They don’t want, presumably, too many people at the airport. So, we really don’t know what time the removal is (or) what airline it’s on.”

Garcia is being held in a Canada Border Services detention centre in Rexdale, where he’s been since he was arrested on Dec. 23.

“He’s thankful for everyone’s attention but he’s concerned (about the outcome),” Mamann said.

Garcia is committed to his studies and deserves a chance to stay, said Akira Kato, who attends Parkdale Collegiate Institute with Garcia.

“What we’re asking for is not the least bit absurd,” said Kato, 16.

Hillel Heinstein, Garcia’s ESL teacher at Parkdale, called the 18-year-old “an integral part of the community” at the rally.

‘We’re not here simply because we like Daniel,” Heinstein said. “His sister’s partner was murdered. He was a minor when he came to Canada.”

Garcia’s initial immigration lawyer died, Mamann said, and then Garcia tried to fill out the forms himself, despite English not being his first language.

Speaking to the crowd at the rally from Mamann’s cell phone, Garcia thanked his teachers and friends for all their support.

A spokesman for Kenney’s office wouldn’t comment on the specific case but said in a written statement “in the last few years, thousands of bogus asylum seekers from Mexico have tried to stay in Canada illegally.”

Bogus asylum seekers cost Canadian and Ontario taxpayers $50,000, Alykhan Velshi said.

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