A New Westminster couple facing deportation to Mexico will be speaking at a rally in support of their cause on Monday.
Adriana Rosales Contreras and Alberto Vargas Mendez are lined up to speak at a community protest on Monday, May 9. It’s set for 5 p.m. outside École Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary School, 1714 Eighth Ave.
Conteras was apprehended by the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) on Nov. 30 after she dropped the couple’s daughter off for school at Tweedsmuir.
The couple initially made a refugee claim when they came to Canada from Mexico 10 years ago, but they didn’t have legal representation at the hearing at the time. Prior to being detained by CBSA, their new lawyer had submitted an application that the family be permitted to stay in Canada permanently based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
The CBSA is now looking to deport Contreras, Mendez and their Canadian-born daughter before that happens.
Sanctuary Health, a grassroots group that supports people with precarious immigration status, launched a letter writing campaign in support of the couple’s quest to stay in the country. Within a week, the organization says, more than 200 people sent letters to the federal ministers of immigration and public safety asking that they be allowed to remain in Canada.
The family is also being supported by the New Westminster school district and New Westminster-Burnaby MP Peter Julian.
The Monday evening rally is also planned to include other community speakers: Omar Chu from Sanctuary Health, New Westminster school trustees, Rev. Emilie Smith of St. Barnabas Anglican Church, and Sarah Wethered, president of the New Westminster Teachers’ Union.
All interested community members are invited to join the protest.