Coderre is called to account for the arrest of undocumented youth in Montreal school

Photo: Rick Cognyl Fournier

As kids go back to school, we recall that it will soon be one year since Daniel*, an undocumented youth, was arrested by the SPVM at a Montreal high school and deported alone to Mexico. Since October 2014, the minor, who is partially deaf, has been living in total insecurity in Mexico City.

About two dozen protesters gathered next to City Hall this Friday at noon, to ask Mayor Coderre if he thinks it is acceptable for Montreal police, who ultimately report to him, enter a school in order to arrest a minor because of his immigration status?

Mayor Coderre was once the Canadian Immigration Minister. As Minister of Immigration, Coderre supervised the application of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, which came into effect on June 28th, 2002.

Almost a year ago Daniel* was deported from Montreal back to his homeland of Mexico. The SPVM arrested Daniel in his old school, the arrest was over his immigration status and he was handed over to the CBSA. Daniel, a 17 year old was arrested on his birthday while visiting old school friends. He was then deported from Canada back to Mexico, without his family, to a country he hasn’t seen in 6 years.

Daniel’s Story

June 2008: Fearing for the safety of her family following threats, Daniel’s mother leaves Mexico for Canada with her children. She believes that her children – and especially her partially deaf son, who has already suffered from bullying because of his disability – will thus be able to grow up in safety and have a better life. At the age of 10, Daniel started school in Montreal.

February 2010: The family is refused refugee status. The mother makes the difficult decision to remain without status, rather then compromise the safety and future of her children by returning to Mexico. Daniel’s family thus joins the ranks of hundreds of thousands of undocumented people living in Canada.

January 15th, 2014: Daniel, who has now been living in Quebec for almost six years, is called in by the administration of his high school. He is told that if his mother doesn’t pay registration fees, Immigration Canada will be called and the family deported. Most undocumented families are billed $6000 per child to register in public schools in Quebec. Daniel changes school.

October 8th, 2014: Daniel returns to his old high school on his 17th birthday to visit his friends. His friends gather on the sidewalk and then, as it begins to rain, enter the school. Daniel is immediately targeted by the security. The SPVM is called and they question Daniel about his immigration status. Daniel is arrested and handcuffed in front of all his friends. The SPVM hands him over to the CBSA and for one week he is detained at the Laval immigration detention center, held in isolation because he is a minor.

October 10th, 2014: An application for permanent residence on humanitarian grounds is filed; if accepted, this will regularize the immigration status of the family.

October 16th, 2014: Daniel is deported to Mexico, alone.

Source: Bring Daniel Home Committee

A mother’s letter

In her letter to Mayor Coderre, Daniel’s mother writes:


My family and I have been waiting since last year for a positive response from Immigration Canada thanks to an application for human rights.


Having no response, we also asked Quebec Immigration Minister Weil, to help us.


Desperate, we have started a media campaign with the help of my community, friends of Montreal militants and organisations.


Today, I ask that you no longer arrest minors in Montreal schools. I ask that you respect the community’s security and the children’s rights. I ask that you support us in our efforts to stay here in all security and reunite our family.


* To protect the identity of Daniel and his family, a fake name was used.

What you can do:

  • Call Federal Minister of Immigration Chris Alexander and ask him to accept the humanitarian application and bring Daniel home as soon as possible : 613-954-1064. Give the file number ID 6022-4213, and specify it is for the Bring Daniel Home campaign.
  • Call Quebec Minister of Immigration Kathleen Weil and ask what she can do to support ‘Daniel’s file: 514-873-9940’
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