As of 7pm today, Alvaro's Humanitarian and Compassionate appeal has been accepted and he will no longer be deported.
The LGBT community and refugee solidarity groups are rallying in person and online this week to prevent the deportation of Toronto-based queer artist Alvaro Orozco. Orozco was arrested May 13 and is threatened with immediate deportation, even though his application for refugee status on humanitarian grounds is still in process.
“An accomplished artist and dedicated advocate for queer and newcomer youth, Alvaro’s love for art and commitment to community has captured the appreciation and respect of thousands of people in Toronto,” said campaign organizers Edward Lee and Suhail Abualsameed in a press release. Orozco’s photo work was recently featured in the exhibit Migration Expressions Montréal’s Ste-Émilie Skillshare.
In 2010, Orozco received a Toronto Youth Cabinet Impact Award for his community involvement, and the immanent deportation scare has resulted In a wave of support from across the country. “Alvaro has been in Canada since 2004, and is an integral member of Toronto’s queer community,” says Suhail Abualsameed, Coordinator, Newcomer/Immigrant Youth Program at Sherbourne Health Centre, where Alvaro works with queer newcomer youth.
Alvaro first rose to national prominence in 2007 when his refugee claim was denied on the basis that he did not look “gay enough” for the adjudicator hearing his case via video -conferencing in Calgary. This story was picked up by the largest newspapers in Nicaragua, effectively “outing” him to the entire country he left at age 12 due to severe physical abuse by a father who threatened to “kill any child of his that was homosexual”. “I’m an artist, a youth worker, and a volunteer in Toronto,” Alvaro Orozco said from the detention centre yesterday. “I’ve got a strong Humanitarian and Compassionate Application case and am hoping that I can get back to the life I’ve built in the city for the past 7 years.”
The Let Alvaro Stay campaign urgently requests his release from detention and a stay on his deportation proceedings until his Humanitarian and Compassionate application has been heard. Amongst the many supporters of the campaign, MP Olivia Chow, EGALE Canada’s Helen Kennedy, and renowned AIDS activist Tim McCaskell have voiced their support.
You can view one of dozens of supportive youtube videos here:
And sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/let-alvaro-stay-in-canada
The Let Alvaro Stay Campaign is a highly organized group, with reps in Montréal and Toronto, and they handily provide the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of the new Minister of Immigration, Jason Kenney, urging supporters to call, text, or Twitter-blitz him.
Jason Kenney at 403-225-3480 or e-mail at Kenney.J@parl.gc.ca or Twitter: @kenneyjason
Call or text Vic Toews at 204-326-9889 or e-mail at Toews.V@parl.gc.ca
The campaigners also urge petitioners to cc their local MP:
And to mention the following points to the Minister and your MP:
* Alvaro has established ties in Canada and specifically in Toronto and this has been his home all of his adult life
* That Alvaro has a pending Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Permit (H&C) application that shows his commitment to the queer community, the arts community and Toronto in general and that he had close personal ties here in Toronto
* Alvaro’s deportation date of June 2nd should be deferred until his H & C application is decided
* We want Alvaro’s H&C application to be looked at as soon as possible or for the Minister himself to intervene in this case.
Join the many activists, journalists, and community members in signing the petition to Let Alvaro Stay:
For Mile Enders, cc Thomas Mulclair firstname.lastname@example.org and for Plateau people, cc email@example.com -- Here's a sample text of what you can write to Jason Kenney:
Dear Minister Kenney,
I am writing to you as a resident of the Outremont riding in Montreal, to ask you please intervene to stay the deportation of artist and community member Alvaro Orozco, who has resided in Toronto for many years.
Alvaro's deportation to Nicaragua would put him in danger of physical violence or death, as he was outed there in 2007 as a person belonging to the LGBT community, a particularly vulnerable group in that country.
Mr. Orozco has established ties in Canada and specifically in Toronto and this has been his home all of his adult life
Mr. Orozco has a pending Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds Permit (H&C) application that shows his commitment to the queer community, the arts community and Toronto in general and that he had close personal ties here in Toronto
Therefore, I believe strongly that Alvaro Orozco’s deportation date of June 2nd should be deferred until his H & C application is decided.
I join over 9,000 other Canadians in urging you as Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to halt this deportation until a decision is made on Alvaro Orozco's application for residency permit on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
With sincere thanks for considering this request,
Your name, address, riding.