Friday, March 11, 2005

Email Joe Volpe (

Counsel has just received word from Officer Martin Kosichek at the Greater Toronto Enforcement Centre that Wendy Maxwell's deportation has been set for this coming Monday, March 14th to Costa Rica.

Yesterday's detention review resulted in a denial of bond, due to the Judge's opinion that Wendy's fear of risk upon return to Costa Rica is so high that he fears she is 'a flight risk,' i. e., will not appear for future dealings with Immigration Canada.

The Canada Border Services Agent who appeared in court stated his willingness to agree to terms and conditions of release if Wendy was granted a deferral of removal or temporary residence status, i. e., by Minister Volpe using his powers and/or Immigration Canada approving the first stage of the H & C.

Emergency legal avenues are being pursued. (However, it is imperative that people take action now! We can make a differnece by keeping the pressure on, now more than ever.)


On Saturday March 5th at the International Women's Day rally at Jorgenson Hall at Ryerson University, a woman was arrested by 51 Division officers while selling cookies to raise money for CKLN Community Radio. Her crime: living in Canada with out Immigration status. Wendy Maxwell, also known as Nzinga, is now in jail at the Vanier Centre for Women in Milton. (The Centre seems to have been named after Madame Vanier. I am certain that were she still alive, she would speak out too, and rectify this situation!) Wendy could be deported at any time.

Nzinga is a talented and strong Black Woman who is an active member of our community. Many who have met her either as a colleague, friend, or through her community work admire her tenacity and humility. These are the type of people our community needs. Born in Costa Rica, she is a woman of Jamaican descent who has had to contend with police repression, the violence of organized crime, and now the racism of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. After six productive years in Canada and continuous community involvement, she faces imminent deportation to a dangerous and uncertain future even though she has an application for landed status filed with Immigration Canada that has yet to be adjudicated.

Nzinga faces serious risk if forced back to Costa Rica. She was once picked up by the Costa Rican police, well known for racially profiling Black people, and sexually assaulted by them. She also faces risk as a bisexual woman from the police, whose homophobia is well documented.

One Costa Rican research group states that "lesbian women are exhaustively searched in round-ups at clubs frequented by gays and lesbians and are also subject to aggression, physical abuse and robbery by the police who, in most cases, claim they were looking for drugs". Added to this, she faces serious risk from a dangerous Costa Rican gang which she has had dealings with in the past. Given the homophobic and racist nature of the police, it is to be expected that she will not be able to obtain protection from them against this gang. Nzinga is still coping with serious Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (documented by Psychologists at the Toronto Rape Crisis Centre and other clinics) due to the abuse she experienced in Costa Rica. Sending her back will re-inflame her psychological problems and stop her healing process.

Despite this, Immigration Canada determined that she would not be at risk if deported and ordered her to fly back to Costa Rica on December 1, 2003. She was forced to go "underground" and filed a humanitarian and compassionate leave application for status soon after that (in February of 2004) on the basis of risk and establishment.

Nzinga has worked tirelessly in the community as a volunteer at CKLN 88.1 FM Community Radio. She has also worked with the Latin American Coalition to end Violence Against Women (now called MUJER), the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, the Ralph Thornton Community Centre as a network administrator's assistant, the Global African Congress, and as an outreach worker with the Black Coalition for Aids Prevention (BlackCAP). Her work is also being published in "A New Look at Heterosexism and Homophobia" being put out in collaboration with the McGill University for the Canadian Aids Society. She has been employed through out her 6 years in Canada.

The Minister of Immigration, Joe Volpe, has the authority to intervene in any Immigration case. Please contact his office ( on Monday, March 14th, and urge him to:

a. Grant Wendy Maxwell a Temporary Resident's Permit so that she can remain in Canada legally until her Humanitarian and Compassionate Leave application for permanent resident's status is decided upon. The application was filed in February of 2004 and has been in the system for over a year now.

b. Release Wendy Maxwell from custody immediately.

If you are part of any broader organizations, please
encourage them to contact the Minister as an organization in support of Wendy Maxwell.

No comments: