NEWS

New B.C. Mother Faces Deportation To Mexico

12/28/2011 10:09 EST | Updated 02/27/2012 05:12 EST

A Vancouver woman who claims her life would be in danger if she returned to her native Mexico with her two-week-old baby has been ordered to leave Canada.

Ericka Gonzalez has lived in Vancouver for three years, during which time she met and married man from Iran in 2009 and had his child earlier this month.

But her husband was arrested just a week before her daughter was born, and only able to see her through the glass during a jail visit after her birth. He was deported to Iran the next day.

Canadian Immigration authorities have also ordered Gonzalez to leave this country by the end of February.

Gonzalez, 36, fled from Mexico City in March 2008 after working there as an addictions counsellor. One of her clients was part of a drug gang and Gonzalez said sensitive information she learned while she counselled him had made her a target for homicide.

"I'm afraid that they do something to kill me, do something to my family,” Gonzalez said. “Especially now that I have a baby, I'm worried they do something to my baby."

Gonzalez said she fled Mexico, fearing for her life, received a Canadian work permit and started working as a counsellor at two clinics in Vancouver.

Appeals fail

She and her husband had applied for refugee status in Canada, but both their applications and subsequent appeals were denied on the basis that their claims of threats in their native countries were not credible.

"I am not satisfied that the applicants would suffer unusual and undeserved or disproportionate hardship if they were to apply for permanent residence [from] outside Canada," a senior immigration officer wrote in a decision after considering an appeal in October.

"They just separate our family, my daughter doesn't have father now," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez's daughter Parmys is a Canadian citizen.

The Canada Border Services Agency, which supervises deportation, declined a request for an interview.

But the agency did say in an email to CBC News that, “where children are involved, the best interests of the child(ren) are taken into account when persons are facing removal from Canada. Our officers carry out their obligations of the Convention of the Rights of the Child whenever they make decisions involving children.

"The decision to remove someone from Canada is not taken lightly.”