A Honduran man who was scheduled to be deported on Tuesday after failing to convince Canadian immigration officials to grant him refugee status on the basis of his sexuality had his order halted on Wednesday.
Josue Elvir arrived in Toronto four years ago on a visa and applied for refugee status, arguing that his life is under threat in Honduras because he is gay.
But his application was denied in 2016 after the Refugee Protection Division ruled that he was not gay.
“I don’t know why they didn’t believe that I’m gay,” Elvir told Global News.
He says he’s afraid he’ll be killed if he’s forced to return to Honduras.
“Nobody can live there being gay, it’s a homophobic country and everybody knows that,” he said.
LGBT people routinely face violence, and their killings tend to go unpunished due to deep-held prejudices against homosexuality, according to a 2015 report on Honduras from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Wong-Tam told Global News that Elvir deserves sympathy from Canadian immigration officials.
“It can be a challenge to convince the refugee process… records and proof can be hard for someone who has fled another country,” Wong-Tam said. “We are all concerned about what would happen to his safety.”
Wong-Tam, who is gay, said the Refugee Protection Division should give Elvir another chance.
Goodale’s office couldn’t be reached for comment.
For his part, Elvir is holding on to the faint hope that his case gets the minister’s attention by end of day. He’s clear about what might happen to him if it doesn’t, and he is forced to go back to Honduras tomorrow (Tuesday).
“I am afraid that I will be killed.”