03/23/2015 10:39 EDT | Updated 05/23/2015 05:59 EDT

Bring back deported teen, Montreal advocacy group demands

Advocacy group Solidarity Across Borders is asking the Canadian government to ensure the safe return of a 17-year-old boy who was deported from Montreal to Mexico last fall as an unaccompanied minor.

The group is identifying the boy using the pseudonym Daniel to protect the identity of family members still living in Montreal. In a video from Mexico, Daniel describes his difficult living conditions.

“I live in a dangerous part of town, with lots of drugs, gun trafficking. Once, I was walking home from work and I heard gunshots in the street [...] and when I turned right I saw people standing over the body of a child, who was on the ground,” said Daniel, who is hearing-impaired in one ear and must work to support himself in Mexico.

His family has submitted a Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds application to Immigration Canada.

Lawyer Richard Goldman from The Committee to Aid Refugees hopes it it accepted soon.

“We are asking for the humanitarian application to be studied and accepted on an expedited basis, which means that they are accepted in principle for permanent residence in Canada. That would immediately open the door to Daniel being authorized to return to Canada,” said Goldman.

Timeline of teen’s deportation

According to Mary Foster from Solidarity Across Borders, the timeline of Daniel’s deportation is as follows:

- June 2008 - Daniel’s mother comes to Canada with her two children after receiving death threats in Mexico. Daniel is 10 years old and begins attending school in Montreal.

- February 2010 - Daniel’s family is refused refugee status, and family members begin living as undocumented people with a removal order issued against them.

- January 2014 - Daniel is called to the office of his school, from the Pointe-de-l'Île school board, and told that if his mother cannot pay the $6,000 required to have her undocumented child attend classes, Immigration Canada would be called. The school board has told CBC Montreal they will “not comment” on the case.

- Mid-2014 - Montreal police stop Daniel, but do not press charges against him in a suspected convenience store shoplifting incident. When they run his name through their records, Daniel appears as an undocumented person. He is handed over to Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials who issue him a removal date. Daniel does not present himself at the airport for his removal date and switches schools.

- Oct. 8, 2014 - On the day of his 17th birthday, Daniel returns to his old school from the Pointe-de-l'Île school board to see his friends. School officials called Montreal police, who bring Daniel to the Laval Immigration Detention Centre, where he is detained in isolation.

- Oct. 9, 2014 - Daniel’s family makes a Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds application to Immigration Canada.

- Oct. 16, 2014 - Not wishing to implicate his family and expose his mother and sibling to the risk of being deported, Daniel is deported to Mexico alone.

- February 2015 - A complaint is filed to the Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, “covering the acts of the school toward Daniel,” according to Solidarity Across Borders.

- Present date - Daniel says in a video sent to Solidarity Across Borders that he is living with a family member in a dangerous part of Mexico, where he must work to support himself and cannot attend school for financial reasons. Daniel says that Mexican authorities who met him upon his arrival to the country did not provide the help promised upon their first meeting.

CBSA responds

When contacted by CBC Montreal, the CBSA said that it “does not speak to the specifics of any case or file” but that “the decision to remove someone from Canada is not taken lightly.”

CBSA spokeswoman Jacqueline Roy said in a statement that “in all cases of removals involving unaccompanied minors, reception arrangements are made with members of the family or representatives of government departments” prior to removal, but that the CSBA does not “have readily available statistics regarding the removal of unaccompanied minors.”