Waterloo, ON - On November 2nd, Daniel Roblero was deported to Guatemala. He is the husband of Sandra Morales and the father of 6 US-born children. The rest of the family is also set to be deported to Guatemala, unless the Trudeau government steps in.
Both Sandra and Daniel are originally from Guatemala. They met in the US, after having fled persecution and violence in their home country. There, they fell in love and decided to start a family together, which grew to include their children Gimder (18), Daniela (16), Kaitlyn (14), Job (11), Breizhlander (8) and Aaron (5). While their children are US citizens, Sandra and Daniel remained undocumented while living in the US.
The family became increasingly fearful when Trump was elected in 2017. In his affidavit, Daniel recounts: “Trump was recently elected and the laws he was proposing for deporting immigrants scared us a lot. Sandra and I were terrified that our kids would be taken away from us and that we would get deported to Guatemala without them. We decided to come to Canada and apply for refugee status here.”
On April 13, 2017, the family entered into Canada at the Fort Erie border crossing and made a refugee claim. Under the Canada-US Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA), most refugee claimants are unable to seek asylum at an official port of entry along the Canada-US border. Still, the Roblero Morales family was exempted from that ban, because they have family in Canada. However, the rules of the STCA meant that they were unable to appeal the negative decision ultimately made on their refugee claim.
Currently, the family is awaiting a decision on their application for permanent residence on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds. However, they have faced a number of hurdles thus far, including not being eligible for publicly funded legal aid representation due to Ford’s legal aid cuts, as well as delays beyond their control in putting forward their immigration application.
Three of their children have serious health issues. One child suffers from a rare congenital condition called galactosemia, which puts him at risk of liver and kidney failure, vomiting, seizures and brain damage if not properly managed through diet. One child was born without fingers on his right hand, while another child has diagnosed language delays. While the family is able to access the medical services and the care they need in a cost-effective way in Canada, Sandra and Daniel doubt that this would be the case in Guatemala.
Moreover, Sandra and Daniel fear for the safety of their family if deported to Guatemala.
Their children have been attending school since they arrived in Canada and have adjusted well to life here. The family is also active in their local church and have been spending time with family on Daniel’s side.
Things came to a head on October 15th. While Daniel was driving his children to school, they were stopped by Waterloo Regional Police in a “routine” traffic stop, then turned over to Canadian border officials. The entire family was detained, though the children were released to family within hours. Gimder, who had turned 18 only two weeks before, was detained for 48 hours. Daniel was detained until his deportation.
“We ask those who read this to help us by reaching out to the Canadian government, because we came here to seek refuge. We don’t want to be separated or removed from this country. We came to work and contribute to Canadian society. We came here for our family. I hope that there’s a good resolution soon and that my husband can return, because it’s not easy being separated from him,” said Sandra.
On November 18th, Sandra and her family have an appointment with Canada Border Services Agency.
This past week, Canada’s Federal Court heard weeklong arguments in a constitutional challenge to the STCA. The applicants in the case, asylum-seekers impacted by the STCA, as well as Canadian civil society organizations, argue that the US cannot be considered a safe country for refugees.