Canada: Imminent Deportation to Separate Mother and Child
After denying Ivonne Hernández refugee status in October of 2011, the Canadian government has ordered her deportation for February 7, after officials learned that she had remained in the country. This deportation could mean permanent separation of Hernández and her 13-month-old son.
Hernández came to Montreal from Mexico City in 2009 to escape a violent relationship with a police officer. She continued to live in Canada without legal status, married a Montréal man, and gave birth to a son in December 2012.
After Hernández fled abuse from her second husband, he called the police and accused her of kidnapping their son. Her impending deportation caused a judge to award temporary sole custody to the father, despite the fact that Hernández had been the baby’s primary caregiver for the first 13 months. Police then arrested Hernández on January 22, and she now faces deportation in a matter of days.
“Essentially, a mother has had her child removed from her custody, perhaps permanently, due to her immigration status,” said Mary Foster of Solidarity Across Borders.
In Quebec, victims of violence have the right to protection regardless of immigration status. Manon Monastesse, a director of a women’s shelter network, says, “when they seek help, we don’t re-victimize them by taking away their children and having them deported.”
Source: The Montreal Gazette.