On Thursday March 22, a rally was held in front of the Guy-Favreau Complexe to protest the declared deportation of Lucy Francineth Granados, an undocumented woman taken from her home by force by the Canadian Border Services Agency the morning of March 20. The rally was organized by the Immigrant Workers Center and Solidarity Across Borders. Granados herself is a prominent community organiser, and a member of the Non-Status Women’s Collective in Solidarity Across Borders.
Since being taken from her home by the CBSA, Grandos has been held in the Laval Detention Centre, and a review hearing for her case occurred during the support rally. Results of the hearing, revealed later, declared that Granados will be deported back to Guatemala on March 27.
Carmelo Monge, a man involved in advocating for people without status in the Mexican community within Montreal, explained that “it is evident that […] there is a total discrimination […] for all the people who live without status […] like Mrs. Francineth Granados.”
“It is necessary that [people without status] live a life […] with all services [made available to them:] […] the service of education, […] health, […] [and] a secured job,” Monge stated.“We have the right to live with dignity. It is important for us to remain humane, and organize […] [in order to resist] this type of violence.”
Mary Foster, a community organizer for Solidarity Across Borders, explained that “the situation of Lucy is […] extremely […] disturbing.”
“The city of Montreal making this decision to call itself a sanctuary city, […] [but] since Lucy has been arrested the response [of the city legislators] has been, ‘that’s a federal matter, there’s nothing we can do,’” said Foster.
“If us as individuals here can do a lot, and can think of a lot of things to do, I think the city of Montreal, with all its wealth and all its power, can find a couple of things to do to stop Lucy’s deportation, and ensure that she’s released from detention.”
Foster explained how Granados filed a humanitarian application for permanent residence in order to regularize her status in Canada, after her refugee application was refused upon entering Montreal nine years ago. She has remained in Canada without documentation in order to support her three children who have grown up here.
“The reason this [seizure by the CBSA] happened to Lucy is because she was trying to regularize her status,” explained Foster, “and it seems to be because of that they started to look for her and track her down.”
A representative from the South Asian Women Community Center explained that “Lucy is a mother, and like a lot of parents, she will do whatever is needed to support her family and her children, even if it means […] embarking on a very long, dangerous journey to come here and find work to support her family, and then living the hardship of being considered illegal.”
“As a temporary worker,” she continued, “[Granados] is a worker who’s contributing to society and the economy of Canada, and we need to inform the Canadian state and demand that we are not expendable. The Canadian state and the Canadian economy would collapse without the work and the hard labor of people like Lucy Granados.”
The representative further explained that “immigration is used to exclude people, and to bring people who are considered beneficial because of their money, their skin color […] and so we are calling everyone to write to Prime Minister Trudeau […] that here is a mother who is here because of her children.”
“He should act now, as somebody who presents himself as representing Canada which likes to present itself as a bastion of law and order,” she elaborated, “and we need to tell Minister Hussen [Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship for the Government of Canada] this is violating Canadian law itself because Lucy has every right to be here, not only as a human being, but also under Canadian immigration law […] [as] she has filed a humanitarian application and she is entitled by current Canadian law to be here.”
She concluded by saying that the rally in support of Lucy is in order to “send a message to Lucy to say that we’re shouting through the walls of Guy-Favreau. We are here for you, we want you to be liberated, and we are sure that you will be joining us in our homes, in our arms, in Montreal again, outside the horrid walls of prison. So, Lucy, love and solidarity to you.”