A Mexican man who's been living in Montreal for the past six years has been freed from an immigration detention centre, pending his deportation — now scheduled for Saturday.
Miguel Luna had an emergency hearing today before the Immigration and Refugee Board after spending the last two days in an immigration detention centre.
“I’m very happy because I got my freedom back,” Luna said.
Having lost his refugee claim, Luna had already begun making arrangements to return to Mexico. However, he was detained by Canada Border Service agents on Tuesday after he met them to discuss his departure date — set for the end of April.
Luna, who worked as a cashier at a cafeteria in a Montreal vocational school, asked for a short extension to May 10 so that he could finish his work contract and pay his Quebec taxes.
The agents denied his request for an extension, gave him 20 days to leave Canada and took him into custody, deeming he could pose a flight risk.
A “misunderstanding”: immigration lawyer
Luna's lawyer, Chantal Ianniciello, said her client’s record with Immigration Canada was spotless.
“He hasn’t missed one appointment. He hasn’t tried to evade the system. He’s always been very sharp with his files,” she said, adding there had been a misunderstanding about his address and about the departure date on his plane ticket.
Luna came to Canada in December 2008 after being attacked in his Mexico City home and being the object of death threats, he told CBC News from the detention centre where he is being held. He tried claiming refugee status once here, but his request was denied.
With the knowledge that he would soon be deported, he applied to a Mexican university in another city and was accepted. Ianniciello said he planned to go to university and try to immigrate to Canada as a qualified worker upon his graduation.
“He wanted to go back. He made the arrangements,” Ianniciello said.
She said the immigration officer had no valid reason to arrest him, given that Luna had proof of his enrolment at the university in Mexico.
She said it’s fairly rare that a case like Luna’s ends up the way it did and will argue to have his deportation this weekend pushed back to May.