Mexican woman fighting deportation in Montreal fears for autistic son

A Mexican single mother fighting deportation in Montreal is worried for her autistic son’s safety in her homeland.

Gabriela Villa has been in Montreal since 2007 and was denied permanent residence in 2012

7-year-old Nathan was born in Montreal and is a Canadian citizen. But his mother, Gabriela Villa, isn't. (Antoni Nerestant/CBC)

A Mexican single mother fighting deportation is worried for her autistic son's safety in her homeland.

Gabriela Villa has been in Montreal since 2007. Her request for permanent residence on humanitarian grounds was denied in 2012.

That was before her seven-year-old son Nathan, who was born here, was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

"I thought he was like any other child, he screams a lot, and children scream," Villa said.

His temperament has improved since Nathan attended Dalkeith Elementary School in the city's east end.

She made a second permanent residence request last October 2015. It can take anywhere between 30 to 42 months to have an official answer.

While waiting, she's been getting deportation notices from the Canada Border Services Agency.

Her last deportation date was Feb. 4 and a request for a stay of deportation was denied.

But her lawyers were ready to file an injunction request, and a federal judge agreed to postpone it.

She now has until March 20.

No aid for autistic children in Mexico

Even though Nathan is a Canadian citizen, the Canada Border Services Agency said she could go take him with her back to Mexico.

Villa says that would completely derail her son's progress.

"He would not be able to go to public school in Mexico. There is at least 50 students per classroom, and more than a 1,000 per school. He would never have an aide," she said.

But her main concern is Nathan's safety.

"You can come here and tell him, 'Come with me, we're going to somewhere!' And he's going to go with anybody," she said.

"I think that's something that's really scary for me."

The Canada Border Services Agency said it does not discuss specific cases, but added that the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that deportation orders must be executed as soon as possible.

One of her lawyers says there are issues in the immigration process from the previous federal government that the Liberal administration needs to address.

"There's no real solid reason for deporting her, except that that's been the priority of the former Conservative government for many years," Stewart Istvanffy said.