June 25, 2007

Via Fax: (613) 996-9749

The Honourable Diane Finley , P.C., M.P.



Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

Citizenship and Immigration Canada

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 1L1



Dear Honourable Diane Finley:



Re: Jose Leonardo Zъсiga Mujica / Humanitarian and Compassionate Application

CIC File No.: 5485-7341



I am writing to ask you in your capacity as Minister of Immigration to order the stay of removal for Jose Leonardo Zъсiga Mujica, (better known as Leo) and to grant him permanent residency on Humanitarian and Compassionate (H&C) grounds.



As a preliminary matter, we are hereby requesting urgent processing of Leos H&C application as he has a call-in interview with the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), most likely for the purpose of initiating his application for a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment (PRRA). While the PRRA process in Ontario, as we are often told by CBSA, may take anywhere from 3 to 6 months before a decision is rendered, we nevertheless request that a decision on Leos H&C application be rendered immediately, to avoid a possible request for removal based on the PRRA before the -lengthier- processing of the Humanitarian and Compassionate application for permanent residence.



Leo is a citizen of Mexico. Due to wide prevalence of intolerance and discrimination towards gay, lesbian, transgender and transsexual (LGBTT) people within Mexican society, Leo has struggled immensely, living in fear of persecution and violence as a direct result of his sexual orientation. In Mexico he cannot live openly and safely as a gay man. Despite some legislative motions that appear to recognize LGBTT rights in some parts of Mexico the effects are merely superficial and there has not been any substantive advancement in protecting the human rights and safety of LGBTT people. The country continues to be predominantly anti-LGBTT with no evidence for upcoming change, mostly because of the local culture and religion that actively promote fear of and hatred towards LGBTT people.



Leo came to Canada on September 15, 2004, seeking asylum after experiencing imminent threat to his life as a result of a violent and abusive relationship with an ex-boyfriend, who happens to be an influential person in the Mexican government. This severe physical abuse was accompanied by systematic homophobia and discrimination on the official (police and authority) level, which would not support him against this abuse. Leo had to travel all the way to Canada based on his genuine fear that this man would eventually find him in Mexico City using his vast resources as a member of the state. However, Leo also decided to flee to Canada because he could no longer endure the daily discrimination and systematic abuse he was experiencing in Mexico as a gay man. Leo was repeatedly ill-treated at work, school, and in his social life. Upon realizing that it is possible to do so, Leo made a refugee claim in Canada based on the fear of violence and persecution he experienced as a gay man living in Mexico.



However, on June 27, 2006 the Refugee Protection Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, represented by William T. Short, refused Leos claim. Mr. Short reported that he had not found Leo to have a well-established fear, or that he was indeed a person inneed of protection.



Since arriving in Canada, Leo has been actively involved in the LGBTT community in Toronto. A large volume of evidence supporting his involvement is provided through the overwhelming amount of support letters enclosed with his H&C application. He has been working many jobs to support himself and did not have to rely on social assistance. Leo has also been constantly upgrading his skills and has become a vital resource for other newcomers by providing insight into the immigration system in Canada and by helping build better integration and links between the newcomer community and the Canadian immigration system. He is a role model to many people, including his peers and colleagues.



Leo has become a leader and source of inspiration to many youth from across Canada. He is the recipient of the 2006 David Barker Maltby Award for his photography work, and the 2007 recipient of The Youth Line Community Youth Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Queer Youth Activism. There is no doubt that if given the chance, Leo would make tremendous contributions to his Toronto community and Canada in countless ways. His community involvement and achievements to date embody the values of Canadian society and are therefore imperative to continue.



Today Leo remains fearful of his ex-boyfriend if he is to return to Mexico. He fears even greater violence and discrimination from his environment upon return. He is deeply established in Canada, and forcing him to return to Mexico would cause him substantial undue and undeserved hardship.



We strongly urge you to exercise the power vested upon you as the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration to grant Jose Leonardo Zъсiga Mujica permanent residency on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. It would be a huge loss for our Canadian society if he were forced to leave this great nation. Canada cannot afford to lose such a courageous and inspirational young leader.



Yours truly,



Organization name, sign, full name, full address, telephone, email.

















Copies:

The Hon. Giuseppe (Joseph) Volpe

511 Lawrence Avenue West, Toronto, Ontario, M6A 1A3

(416) 781-5583 / [email protected]

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